H. R. F. Keating Analysis

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(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

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.


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

DeAndrea, William L. Encyclopedia Mysteriosa: A Comprehensive Guide to the Art of Detection in Print, Film, Radio, and Television. New York: Prentice Hall, 1994. Brief entries on Keating and on his creation, Ganesh Ghote.

Fletcher, Connie. Review of The Hard Detective, by H. R. F. Keating. The Booklist 96, no. 17 (May 1, 2000): 1621. A highly favorable review of The Hard Detective, wherein Detective Chief Inspector Harriet Martens leads an investigation into a biblically oriented serial killer. Praised for its creative plotting, which the reviewer compares to that of Agatha Christie, as well as for its crisp writing and interesting characters.

Herbert, Rosemary. “The Cosy Side of Murder: Ten Noted British Mystery Writers Make It Sound Like Fun.” Publishers Weekly 228, no. 17 (October 25, 1985): 20-32. Brief profiles of and quotations from such popular mystery authors as Simon Brett, Marian Babson, Julian Symons, Peter Lovesy, Michael Gilbert, and Keating, focusing on his best-known creation, Inspector Ghote.

Keating, H. R. F. “Ganesh V. Ghote.” In The Great Detectives, edited by Otto Penzler. New York: Mysterious Press, 1978. A discussion, by the author, of his best-known creation, Ganesh Vinayak Ghote, written humorously in the character’s own voice. Provides insights into Keating’s philosophical approach in giving each series entry a particular theme. Indexed with bibliography and filmography.

King, Nina, with Robin Winks. Crimes of the Scene: A Mystery Novel Guide for the International Traveler . New York:...

(The entire section is 743 words.)