|From Arizona in The Americans Tale we move to an Australian mining camp. Once again Doyle presents us with a cast of rough characters. Thankfully, the use of dialect is minimized. Our hero, for such he is, is a rather simple miner by the name of Abe Durton, nicknamed 'Bones'. Bones shares his stake and the adventure with his educated companion Boss Morgan. The bulk of the story is concerned with the unlikely romance between Bones and the local assayers daughter Miss Carrie Sinclair. Much is made of the differences in education. A hated rival is introduced to thicken the plot. Everything culminates with the attack of a group of bushrangers on the Sinclair household. Our simple, but noble hero saves the day, but at what cost? Read it and see for yourself.
Doyle seems to enjoy creating these noble idiot types. We meet a different variety of the same 'type' in Gentlemanly Joe. Very much a case of cheering for the underdog, which is the main attraction here. A good deal of humour is generated by the effect of Miss Sinclair's arrival on the unwashed populace of Harvey's Sluice. Doyle makes the most of the setting and the broadly drawn characters. This is also the first of the stories I've read to focus on the lovestory angle, it is certainly not the last. A charming story with no serious flaws. A marked growth of the writer's ability is noticeable.
Reviewed by Charles Prepolec
|Bones: The April Fool of Harvey's Sluice (1882)
Originally published in 'London Society' April 1882