July 4, 2008

Man of Two Tribes

Man Of Two Tribes
Arthur Upfield


(July 4, 2008)

Can Arthur Upfield really be out of print?

Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte is half Abo, half white-Australian, and has risen to be Australia’s top detective. Upfield writes well, and with a certain sensitivity: when Dorothy Sayers or Agatha Christie touched on race, what remains is a blemish, while Upfield says his piece well and dexterously. I think Upfield’s influence on Hillerman is very clear, for example; compare, for example, Man of Two Tribes with Hillerman’s Thief of Time. Another reminder in this surprisingly-fresh 1955 procedural proves instructive: at one point, our hero finds himself in a tight spot with a group of assorted murderers who, having been spared the gallows and served long terms in prison, are now on parole. They are led by a psychiatrist who was condemned as an abortion provider.