Tuesday, March 29, 2011

FOND FAREWELLS: H. R. F. Keating (1926 - 2011)

Doug Greene posted the news at the Golden Age Detection Forum at Yahoo.com. that H.R.F. Keating, creator of the irrepressible Inspector Ganesh Ghote, died March 28., that should be Saturday March 27.  There are already several brief tributes and remembrances of the man who was by all accounts a warm and generous fellow.  His photos certainly always show these traits.

I remember reading many of the Ghote books when I was a teenager.  These were the first mystery novels I read that weren't set in either America or the UK and I longed to see the India depicted in those books --  both the beauty and the squalor. I later discovered that Keating wrote many of the early books without ever setting foot in India.

In addition to his numerous mystery novels both with and without the Bombay policeman, Keating was one of the leading proponents of detective fiction criticism and worked hard to elevate the genre out of its ill deserved reputation as populist reading and escapist fare. His non-fiction works Agatha Christie: First Lady of Crime (1977)  and Crime and Mystery: The 100 Best Books (1987) are still two of the best critical works devoted to the genre.

Although there will be no more adventures with Ghote there are still the 24 books waiting for you to discover if you haven't already.  Read an Inspector Ghote book in Mr. Keating's honor some time soon


  1. It is sad to learn of his passing away. I had never read one of his books, but his name was on my "give this guy a shot" list for quite some time. I have since picked "The Perfect Murder" and find myself halfway through. His writing truly was excellent.

  2. In his memory, I pulled one of his novels from my stock of unread books, and actually had a hard time deciding between The Murder of the Maharajah and Filmi, Filmi, Inspector Ghote, but ended up choosing the latter – because it featured Ghote.

  3. I've never read any Keating, though I had heard of him. I was sorry to read of his passing. As you say, in his honor, I'll make sure to find one of his books to read. Nice post, John.

  4. David here

    While I greatly enjoyed Keating the writer I think Keating the critic surpasses him. His many books vary from playful to serious genre study, and his delightful book on the Golden Age mystery, MURDER MUST APPETIZE is a delight with wonderful illustrations accompanying it.

    Though there are none on now Keating's books are sometimes adapted and run on BBC RADIO 4 EXTRA (formerly BBC 7) which you can listen to on your PC.

    Ghote remains one of the great creations, the most human of sleuths and one you could not help but pull for.