Two young women go missing in the wilderness of the Grampian Mountains in Australia. When a detective who goes looking for them is found shot dead, Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte, known to his friends as Bony, goes undercover. The women were last seen leaving a hotel in the wilderness. Bony visits the hotel to look for clues. The girls disappeared in October, it's now March. Will Bony find any clue? Is the disappearance of the girls related to the death of the detective? What clue did the detective find that led to his death? What is happening in the neighbouring farm? What is the need for the huge fence and gate? What are the secrets that these mountains are hiding?
Bony is quick witted and comes up with new identities when there is a chance for his old one to be exposed. The description of the landscape and how Bony makes his camp in the wilderness is vivid. Most of the time Bony is on his own, he has no back up, he has no way to connect to the police in case he needs help. But Bony manages to solve the mystery even though he fails to have his name written in history books.
Possible Spoiler Ahead :
The ending sequences are thrilling but wish the ending is spelled out more openly. You know how I love my explanations! Upfield creates quite a lot of tension and creates anticipation and when you think it is time and whatever is the secret the mountain holds will be revealed, it is not revealed. You just have to make a guess. I was a bit lost, more so because I didn't pick up on the repeated mention of Second World War. I was thinking about a treasure or a secret satanic ritual or something of the sort. I had to read the last few pages a second time to understand what it could be and only after reading Bev's review @ My Readers Block I did really understand what it was.
Whatever it was, Arthur Upfield builds it up nicely. I look forward to reading more books by Arthur Upfield. The book reminded me of a book by Josephine Tey and another by Ruth Rendell. If you have read it, you know it. It is interesting how these three authors work on a similar premise very differently.
I borrowed the book from Openlibrary.
My post for Crime Fiction Alphabet letter M and other challenges.