Re-reading “The Perfect Murder” was every bit as delightful the 3rd time round, as it was the first.
Yes, of course I knew whodunnit, but the writing and the scene setting and the use of language in the book are all so delicious that you read it as much for the writing as for the story.
This book is a truly dazzling literary tour de force once you know that the author had never, ever been to India when he wrote the book. And yet Bombay (it was, back then) springs to loud, noisy, colourful life in front of your eyes. The characters are 100% credible, the language is spot-on, and you marvel at how perfect (no pun intended) the depiction of one of the world’s great cities is.
And Mr. Keating had never visited. Not once.
This book is the first in what would become a long, delightful series, and in it we meet the dogged, determined, definitely put-upon Inspector Ghote, from the Bombay CID. We meet his feisty wife Protima, their beloved son Ved, and an array of characters as lifelike, as dodgy, as suspicious, as likeable as you could wish to meet.
My old, battered paperback, dating from my first trip to Bombay was published by Hamlyn, and cost the then princely sum of £1.10p, though the book was first published in 1964.
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