Though used to dealing in character assassination and verbal back-stabbing, the literary clique gathered at the house-party of Mervyn Blake, famous author and critic, is shocked when their host is found dead in his writing room. The cause of death cannot be determined. Detective-Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte, forgoing a holiday to assist the Victorian police in the investigation, quickly adapts himself to the world of literary hates and jealousies. With little to go on, Bony gradually pieces together the mystery. A cat, a ping-pong ball, an alcoholic gardener--these unlikely clues suggest the lines of investigation, but it is Bony's observation of human nature and some shrewd literary sleuthing and finally uncovered the murder method, and the murderer. One of the few Bonaparte mysteries with a setting away from the mulga forests and gibber flats of the outback, An Author Bites the Dust shows Bony at his best, and has all the realism and ingenuity of plot associated with Arthur W. Upfield's stories.