The Perfect Murder by H.R.F.Keating

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.

If, after reading this review, you would like to buy the book, nothing could be easier.  Just click on the link below :


The Sheriff of Bombay by H.R.F.Keating

After a bout of reading good but rather heavy book club books, I felt like some mental time out.

But, for no particular reason, I wanted Indian mental time out, and so it was with a feeling of great relaxation that I re-read H.R.F Keating’s “The Sheriff of Bombay.”

I have long been a fan of the delightful Inspector Ghote novels, and this book does not disappoint.

Can there be a more likeable detective than the slightly put upon, scrupulously honest, solidly middle class Ganesh Ghote ?  Inspector Ghote strides his way through the crowded noisy streets of Bombay, circa early-1980s, solving crimes in his own low-key intuitive way.

This is Bombay before it became Mumbai.  Before mobile technology.  When victorias could still be seen on the streets.

When I got to know and love the city, incidentally, which is why (I suspect) I have always had a weakness for these books.

In “The Sheriff of Bombay”, Inspector Ghote must solve a series of murders.  A prostitute from the notorious Falkland Road “cages” has been murdered, and Inspector Ghote suspects the murderer to be none other than the high-profile, popular, likeable Sheriff of Bombay.

As we follow the twists and turns in the plot, and meet an aging film star, the Svashbuckler (sic), we plunge with Inspector Ghote into the sordid underbelly of Bombay in pursuit of a serial killer.

Lovely writing, bringing to life one of the world’s most fabulous cities, before it became 21st-century-fied.

 If you wish to  buy this delightful book, nothing could be easier.  Just click on the link below :