Arthur W Upfield is best known to aficionados of crime detection stories as the creator of Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte (Bony) of the Queensland Police Service who features in 29 novels. They were written between 1927 and 1966, and most are set in outback Australia. Kees de Hoog has been researching Upfield's life and works since 2001. He authors this blog to publish his views and findings, and to provide news of developments in this area.
18 February 2011
Paperback Firsts (Revised)
Quite a few people around the world collect the works of Arthur Upfield, particularly first editions of his novels. Some simply seek out world first editions for all countries in which they were published, all titles, etc.
1949 Penguin UK
1965 Collier US
My main interest in Upfield’s works has been to republish his long “lost” short stories and non-Bony novels to make them accessible to enthusiasts and other people. I was surprised to read in the small print of a bibliography by David Blake in the November 2010 (and final) issue of the Book and Magazine Collector magazine that the US first edition of Bony and the Black Virgin was a 1965 Macmillan Collier paperback retitled The Torn Branch. While aware that paperbacks had “taken off” in the late 1930s, I had simply assumed that all first editions during Upfield’s time were hardbacks, and paperbacks were always later editions. However, Philp Asdell’s highly respected A Revised Descriptive Bibliography of First Editions of Arthur W. Upfield (1988) indicates the title of the 1965 Collier edition was Bony and the Black Virgin, and that is confirmed by its cover. The 1986 Macmillan Scribner edition appears to be the first edition retitled The Torn Branch.
1953 Invincible AU
1983 Pan AU
I also noticed and mentioned that three Australian first editions were softcovers, but when compiling the page of UK, Australian and US first editions for this site I noticed that most Australian first editions are paperbacks. In fact one UK, two US and nineteen Australian first editions are paperbacks. I’ve included copies of some of the front covers in this blog.
It’s equally interesting that two novels have never been published as books in the UK, two in the US, and five in Australia.