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H. R. F. Keating (1926–2011)

Author of The Perfect Murder

81+ Works 2,869 Members 66 Reviews 4 Favorited

About the Author

H. R. F. Keating (Henry Reymond Fitzwalter "Harry" Keating) was born in St. Leonards-on-Sea on October 31, 1926. He attended Merchant Taylor's School in London, England and Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. He worked for The Times (London) as the crime books reviewer from 1967 to 1983. His first show more novel, Death and the Visiting Firemen, was published in 1959. He wrote about 50 fiction and nonfiction works during his lifetime, but is best known for the Inspector Ghote series. His other works include the Harriet Martens Mysteries series and Sherlock Holmes: The Man and His World. Keating received the CWA Gold Dagger Award in 1964 for The Perfect Murder and in 1980 for The Murder of the Maharajah, the Edgar Alan Poe award in 1988, the George N. Dove Award in 1995, and the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger for outstanding service to crime fiction in 1996. He died of cardiac failure on March 27, 2011 at the age of 84. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Disambiguation Notice:

Evelyn Hervey is a pseudonym of H. R. F. Keating


Works by H. R. F. Keating

The Perfect Murder (1964) 226 copies
The Murder of the Maharajah (1980) 98 copies
Go West, Inspector Ghote (1981) 72 copies
Under a Monsoon Cloud (1986) 70 copies
Writing Crime Fiction (1986) 64 copies
The Governess (1983) — Author; Pseudonym — 53 copies
Dead on Time (1988) 50 copies
The Hard Detective (2000) 47 copies
The Rich Detective (1993) 46 copies
The Iciest Sin (1990) 40 copies
The Sheriff of Bombay (1984) 39 copies
A Long Walk to Wimbledon (1978) 38 copies
Murder by Death (1976) 35 copies
Cheating Death (1992) 33 copies
Doing Wrong (1994) 32 copies
Asking Questions (1996) 30 copies
A Detective Under Fire (2002) 30 copies
The Soft Detective (1997) 30 copies
A Detective in Love (2002) 29 copies
Zen There Was Murder (1960) 28 copies
Breaking and Entering (2000) 28 copies
The Dreaming Detective (2003) 27 copies
The Dog It Was That Died (1962) 27 copies
The Good Detective (1995) 27 copies
Rules, Regs and Rotten Eggs (2007) 26 copies
A Detective at Death's Door (2004) 24 copies
The Man of Gold (1985) 24 copies
Into the Valley of Death (1986) 23 copies
The Bad Detective (1996) 22 copies
Crime Writers (1978) — Editor; Contributor — 21 copies
Is Skin Deep, Is Fatal (1965) 21 copies
Bribery, Corruption Also (1999) 20 copies
One Man and His Bomb (2006) 20 copies
Murder Must Appetize (1975) 19 copies
Great Crimes (1982) 19 copies
Death of a Fat God (1963) 15 copies
A Rush on the Ultimate (1961) 13 copies
The Man Who ... (1992) — Editor; Contributor — 13 copies
In Kensington Gardens Once (1997) 13 copies
Crime Waves: No. 1 (1991) — Editor; Contributor — 12 copies
The Underside (1974) 11 copies
Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady [1991 film] (1991) — Screenplay — 6 copies
Strong Man (1971) 5 copies
Jack, the Lady Killer (2000) 4 copies
A Kind of Light (2017) 4 copies
Majumdar Uncle 2 copies
Lucky Alphonse (1982) 1 copy
Blood on My Mind (1972) 1 copy

Associated Works

The Mammoth Book of New Sherlock Holmes Adventures (1997) — Contributor — 514 copies
Green for Danger (1944) — Foreword, some editions — 448 copies
The Oxford Book of English Detective Stories (1990) — Contributor — 400 copies
The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries (2013) — Contributor — 291 copies
Crime Stories from the Strand (1991) — Introduction — 227 copies
The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories (2015) — Contributor — 144 copies
The Best British Mysteries 2005 (2005) — Contributor — 130 copies
The Mammoth Book of Roaring Twenties Whodunnits (2004) — Contributor — 117 copies
The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes (1989) — Contributor — 89 copies
Murder for Christmas, Vol. 2 (1982) — Contributor — 87 copies
Crime for Christmas (1991) — Contributor — 86 copies
The Mammoth Book of Great Detective Stories (1985) — Contributor — 81 copies
Crime Through Time III (2000) — Contributor — 80 copies
Beginning With a Bash (1937) — Introduced By — 80 copies
Great Stories of Crime and Detection, Volumes I-IV: Beginnings to the Present (2002) — Introduction; Contributor — 79 copies
A Classic Christmas Crime (1995) — Contributor — 76 copies
The Detection Collection (2005) — Contributor — 75 copies
Verdict of 13 (1978) — Contributor — 71 copies
2nd Culprit: A Crime Writers' Association Annual (1993) — Contributor — 66 copies
The Best British Mysteries 2006 (2005) — Contributor — 63 copies
1st Culprit: A Crime Writers' Association Annual (1992) — Contributor — 59 copies
Bland Beginning (1949) — Introduction, some editions — 55 copies
Murder Through the Ages (2000) — Contributor — 54 copies
Mystery for Christmas (1990) — Contributor — 51 copies
The Mammoth Book of Comic Crime (2002) — Contributor — 47 copies
3rd Culprit: An Annual of Crime Stories (1994) — Contributor — 41 copies
Mysterious Pleasures (2003) — Contributor — 34 copies
Great Law and Order Stories (1990) — Contributor — 28 copies
The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked-Room Mysteries (2019) — Contributor — 24 copies
Perfectly Criminal (1996) — Contributor — 23 copies
The Verdict of Us All (2006) — Contributor — 22 copies
Great detective stories (1998) — Contributor — 20 copies
Royal Crimes (1994) — Contributor — 17 copies
John Creasey's Crime Collection, 1985 (1985) — Contributor — 13 copies
The Ethnic Detectives: Masterpieces of Mystery Fiction (1985) — Contributor — 12 copies
The Rigby File (1989) — Contributor — 11 copies
Great Tales of Crime and Detection (1992) — Contributor — 9 copies
John Creasey's Crime Collection, 1983 (1983) — Contributor — 8 copies
Winter's Crimes 13 (1981) — Contributor — 6 copies
John Creasey's Crime Collection, 1977 (1977) — Contributor — 6 copies
En Kriminelt god jul : femten svarte julefortellinger (2006) — Contributor — 6 copies
John Creasey's Crime Collection, 1981 (1981) — Contributor — 6 copies
Julian Symons : a bibliography (1996) — Preface — 5 copies
Winter's Crimes 15 (1983) 5 copies
Winter's Crimes 19 (1987) 5 copies
John Creasey's Crime Collection, 1987 (1987) — Contributor — 5 copies
John Creasey's Crime Collection, 1990 (1990) — Contributor — 5 copies
Past Crimes: Perfectly Criminal 3 (1998) — Contributor — 4 copies
John Creasey's Crime Collection, 1984 (1984) — Contributor — 4 copies
Julian Symons at 80: A Tribute (1992) — Contributor — 4 copies
Winter's Crimes 7 (1975) — Contributor — 3 copies
John Creasey's Crime Collection, 1982 (1982) — Contributor — 3 copies
John Creasey's Crime Collection, 1978 (1978) — Contributor — 3 copies
John Creasey's Crime Collection, 1980 (1980) — Contributor — 2 copies


Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Keating, H. R. F.
Legal name
Keating, Henry Reymond Fitzwalter
Date of death
St. Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, United Kingdom
Place of death
London, England, UK
Places of residence
Dublin, Ireland
London, England, UK
Trinity College, Dublin
crime fiction writer
Detection Club
Awards and honors
Cartier Diamond Dagger (1996)
Malice Domestic Award for Lifetime Achievement (2005)
Disambiguation notice
Evelyn Hervey is a pseudonym of H. R. F. Keating



fun, though the ending felt a bit abrupt.This is the first I have tried in the series and I will try more
cspiwak | 1 other review | Mar 6, 2024 |
I’ve been reading Agatha Christie books for as long as, well, as long as I can remember reading. So quite possibly from the time when this book was first published back in 1977. It’s a collection of essays about the Queen of Crime’s life and works. When I started reading, I didn’t quite realise how long ago it was originally published. Oddly, the commentary/opinions didn’t feel especially dated, other than references to (then) contemporary events.

I enjoyed the mix of personal insights, commercial “analysis” and commentary on her wide range of works: fiction, plays, memoir... And of course, now I’m in a mood to revisit some of her mysteries again.… (more)
MHThaung | 1 other review | Nov 18, 2023 |
I wanted very much to like this book. First, it is a mystery, which is one of my favorite genres. Second, it is set in India, with all Indian characters, and anyone who knows me even a little knows how much I love India. In spite of all this, I couldn't finish the book. It was just too painful to go through a plot where the caste structure, social customs, and religion don't allow for the questioning of authority, or for defense of one's dignity when it's insulted by someone of a higher position/caste. It's also a really boring read, knowing that the characters will never "step out of bounds". You just want to grab all the characters and clunk their heads together while yelling, "Oh my god please become interesting!"

This was my first Inspector Ghote book, and my problems with it are probably universal to the other books with this character. If you have liked other Inspector Ghote books, you'll probably like this one.
… (more)
blueskygreentrees | 3 other reviews | Jul 30, 2023 |
A Peculiar Case
Review of the Penguin Classics Kindle eBook edition (2011) of the original Collins Crime Club hardcover (1964)
It was called the Perfect Murder right from the start. First the Bombay papers plastered it all the way across their pages. And then it was taken up by papers all over India.
The Perfect Murder: Police at House.
The Perfect Murder: New Police Moves.
The Perfect Murder: Police Baffled.
- opening sentences of "A Perfect Murder".

Somehow I missed reading HRF Keating's Inspector Ghote novels (1964-2009) when they were first released, but came across them only recently. This first book left a very odd impression and is surprising as a debut for a series that went on to 26 books. The lead Inspector Ghote is portrayed here as a rather naive detective who is belittled by his superiors in the Bombay (then the name of present day Mumbai) Police and its related government ministry and also henpecked at home by his shrewish wife. Together with his sidekick/Watson Axel Svensson (a Swedish criminologist sent to India to study international policing) they stumble towards an eventual solution.

The book feels like a bait and switch right off the bat as the so-called "Perfect Murder" is revealed to be a non-fatal assault on a Mr. Perfect, the secretary of a rich man named Mr. Arun Varde. The initial outrage announcing a "murder" from the household has been broadcast further by the scurrilous press and is the basis for a running joke throughout. The farce continues when Ghote and Svensson arrive to investigate and are met with denials and obstruction by everyone in the household, except for the secretary who is still unconscious and unable to be interviewed. It is all dragged out to book length with one fruitless interview after another with a diversion to another case involving the supposed theft of a single rupee note from the office of the Minister in charge of the Police.

See DVD cover at https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/9b/The_Perfect_Murder_%28film%29.jpg
The cover for the DVD release of the 1988 film adaptation of "A Perfect Murder". Actor Naseeruddin Shah as Inspector Ghote doesn't even get on the poster, which instead features Stellan Skarsgård (criminologist Axel Svensson) and Madhur Jaffrey (Mrs. Lai, renamed from the Mrs. Varde in the novel). Image sourced from Wikipedia.

Ghote and Svensson still solve both cases in the end and the reason for the obstruction becomes clear. It is an odd beginning to what apparently was a popular series. I think I will try at least one more to find out if the later books became more standard procedurals. Otherwise this would be cringe reading to have a protagonist who is belittled throughout his own books.

Trivia and Links
The Perfect Murder was adapted as the same-titled England/India film in 1988 directed by Zahar Hai, produced by Merchant Ivory Productions. I haven't watched the whole film, but from the opening scenes it seems to have been adapted as a comedy farce along the lines of the Inspector Clouseau films. You can watch the whole film on YouTube here.

There was a May 2020 announcement that the Inspector Ghote/HRF Keating novels were to be adapted for an Indian TV series. No TV series has yet appeared though. You can read the announcement in Variety here.
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alanteder | 6 other reviews | Nov 30, 2022 |



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