H. R. F. Keating’s Inspector Ghote novels form his greatest contribution to detective fiction. They are fascinating because of their exotic background, being mostly set in Bombay (Mumbai) or other parts of India; because of their willingness to deal with social issues; and because of the character of Ghote himself. The reader sympathizes with the inspector as he tries to use his rather ordinary talents to cope with the problems his superiors call on him to solve. He must strive hard to preserve his own dignity and integrity and at the same time to meet the outrageous demands made on him by his superiors. Keating’s readers identify with him, suffer with him, and feel triumphant when he succeeds.
Keating has also written a number of other crime novels, including the Harriet Unwin series he published under the pseudonym of Evelyn Hervey. He is a great connoisseur of the genre, as revealed by his many reviews of crime novels for The Times of London and the excellent critical works on the subject he has written and edited.
Keating often has been recognized for his work in the genre: among other honors he has won the Crime Writers’ Association’s Gold Dagger Award and the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Allan Poe Award for The Perfect Murder (1964), a second Edgar Award for his nonfictional study Sherlock Holmes: The Man and His World (1979), a second Gold Dagger Award for The Murder of the Maharajah (1980), and the Crime Writers’ Association’s Diamond Dagger Award for lifetime achievement in 1996. He was given a Malic Domestic Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2005.