H. R. F. KEATING The Perfect Murder

H. R. F. KEATING – The Perfect Murder. Collins, UK, hardcover, 1964. Dutton, US, hardcover, 1965. Film: Merchant Ivory Productions, 1988 (Naseeruddin Shah as Inspector Ghote; Keating makes a cameo appearance about eight minutes into the movie). Softcover reprint: Academy Chicago, US, 1983.

   This is the first in H. R. F. Keating’s series featuring Inspector Ghote of the Bombay Police Force. The Perfect Murder received the Mystery Writers of America’s Special Edgar Award and the Crime Writer’s Association’s Golden Dagger.

   How interesting that The Perfect Murder refers to an attack on Mr. Perfect. But, will he survive, or succumb to his injuries? Inspector Ghote not only must try to solve this crime with little help from Lala Verde (Perfect’s employer — who talks annoyingly in rhymes) but must also try to solve a theft.

   The mysterious disappearance of one rupee from the desk of a Very Important Person, the Minister of Police Affairs and the Arts, is equally crucial where Ghote’s boss is concerned. Struggling amidst bureaucratic red tape and incompetence, and a wife who is less than understanding about his working overtime, Ghote nevertheless forges ahead with both investigations.

   A definitely different and amusing murder mystery.

— Reprinted from The Poisoned Pen, Vol. 6, No. 2, Winter 1984/85.