Image from Touchstone
Originally published in 1953, Murder Must Wait is one of the novels featuring the “half-caste” Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte. As usual the author provides a novel where Australia is as much of a character as any person portrayed.
The Inspector, Bony to his friends, is asked to investigate a series of kidnapping. Four infants in a small town have disappeared. A police task force from the police headquarters has been unable to find any clues. When Bony is asked to investigate, he requests a particular assistant. First Constable Alice McGorr. Although they have never met, the inspector has heard about her and determined that she the perfect fit for the job.
When another abduction apparently includes murder of the mother, the stakes are raised even higher. Bony decides finding the infants, who are presumably alive, must be the focus of the investigation. Uncovering the killer will have to wait. In this book the author portrays the tension between police administrators who have to face political pressure and newspaper coverage and the brilliant investigator who only wants to resolve the mystery. Bony is an outsider because of his ethnicity. McGorr is a woman, which automatically makes her of lesser importance in the male-dominated police agency.
Part of the fun of this book is the interaction between two strong-willed people who have very different backgrounds. As in other novels Bony use both sides of his genetic inheritance to solve the mystery.