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Keating, HRF

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HRF KeatingHenry Reymond Fitzwalter Keating (1926-) is a distinguished reviewer and commentator on detective fiction who has also written many detective novels and stories, notably the Inspector Ghote series set in modern-day India.


Keating, known as Harry to his family and friends, typed out his first story at the age of eight. He was educated at Trinity College Dublin. In 1956 he moved to London to work as a journalist on the Daily Telegraph. He was the crime books reviewer for The Times newspaper for fifteen years. He has been Chairman of the Crime Writers' Association (CWA) (1970-71), Chairman of the Society of Authors (1983-84) and President of the Detection Club (1985). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He received the George N. Dove Award in 1995. In 1996 the CWA awarded him the Cartier Diamond Dagger for outstanding services to crime literature. Keating lives in London with his wife, the actress Sheila Mitchell.


Keating's first four novels were published by Gollancz. With his fifth novel, Death of a Fat God (1963), he moved to Collins Crime Club, with whom he stayed for the next twenty years. In the mid-eighties Keating published three novels with Weidenefeld under the pseudonym Evelyn Hervey. He has also written extensive non-fiction about crime writing.


As a critic during the 1970s, Keating supported the move away from pure detection into 'psychological' stories and violent 'realism. His own books straddle the divide, with the Ghote stories maintaining a thread of pure (though often weak) detection while the Martens books embrace violence, sadism and emotional involvement by the detective characters.


Inspector Ghote


Inspector Ganesh Ghote is an inspector in the Mumbai Police who appeared in twenty-four novels. The first was The Perfect Murder (1964), which won a Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger Award and an Edgar Award, and was made into a film by Merchant Ivory. Ghote's final appearance was in the novel Breaking and Entering (2000).



Just had to emerge from lurkdom to defend the wonderful Ghote. In response to the various mails, yes, the plots can be slight but the books are genuinely atmospheric, full of warmth and charm and Ghote is such a great character. Love the scenes where his idealism comes into conflict with autocratic superiors with their own political agenda. Very subtle and witty and the stories are, overall, so well written. Someone said in one of the mails that the characters are "one-dimensional" which genuinely surprises me because I would have said that Keating's characters are rich, rounded and alive. He really is such a very good writer - IMHO of course. - Alan


DCI Harriet Martens


Harriet Martens is the protagonist of series of novels comprising The Hard Detective (2000), A Detective in Love (2001), A Detective Under Fire (2002), The Dreaming Detective (2003), Detective at Death's Door (2004), and One Man and His Bomb (due February 2006). She is a Detective Chief Inspector who earns the nickname "The Hard Detective" because of the tough image that she adopts to survive in the masculine world of UK policing. This toughness inspires her to start a "Stop the Rot" campaign that successfully reduces local crime but angers some violent criminals to the extent that they start murdering her officers. In the second book she falls in love with a fellow officer while investigating the murder of the UK's top tennis player. With her job under threat she fights to prove her worth in the third book.


Other novels


In the 1990s Keating wrote several novels about UK police detectives whose human weaknesses adversely affect their work. The first of these was The Rich Detective (1993) in which Detective Inspector Bill Sylvester of South Mercia Police investigates an anonymous allegation that a local antiques dealer is murder old ladies after persuading them to change their wills in his favour. In A Bad Detective (1996) Detective Sergeant Jack Stallworthy is a corrupt police officer who is planning his retirement to Devon when a businessman offers him an entire tropical island in return for stealing an incriminating file from the Fraud Investigations Office at police headquarters.




Writing Crime Fiction (1986) was based on his analysis of the development of the genre from the 1920s to the 1990s. It includes guidance on fictional structure, the plot and its characters, and on submitting a script to publishers. Crime and Mystery: The 100 Best Books (1987) is a modern attempt to list great works of crime writing, and The Bedside Companion to Crime (1989) is a series of short articles about contemporary and past crime writers and their characters.




Death and the Visiting Fireman (1959)

Zen there was Murder (1960)

A Rush on the Ultimate (1961)

The Dog it was that Died (1962)

Death of a Fat God (1963)

The Perfect Murder (1964)

Is Skin Deep Fatal (1965)

Inspector Ghote's Good Crusade (1966)

Inspector Ghote Caught in Meshes (1968)

Inspector Ghote Hunts the Peacock (1968)

Inspector Ghote Plays a Joker (1969)

Inspector Ghote Breaks an Egg (1970)

Inspector Ghote Goes by Train (1971)

Inspector Ghote Trusts the Heart (1972)

Bats Fly up for Inspector Ghote (1974)

A Remarkable Case of Burglary (1975)

Murder by Death (1976)

Filmi Filmi Inspector Ghote (1976)

Inspector Ghote Draws a Line (1979)

The Murder of a Maharajah (1980)

Go West Inspector Ghote (1981)

The Sheriff of Bombay (1984)

Mrs Craggs Crimes Cleaned Up (1985)

Under a Monsoon Cloud (1986)

The Body in the Billiard Room (1987)

Dead on Time (1988)

Inspector Ghote His Life and Crimes (1989)

The Iciest Sin (1990)

Inspector Ghote and Some Others (1991)

Cheating Death (1992)

The Rich Detective (1993)

Doing Wrong (1994)

The Good Detective (1995)

The Bad Detective (1996)

The Soft Detective (1997)

In Kensington Gardens Onceā€¦ (1997)

Bribery, Corruption Also (1999)

The Hard Detective (2000)

Breaking and Entering (2000)

A Detective in Love (2001)


As Evelyn Hervey

The Governess (1984)

The Man of Gold (1985)

Into the Valley of Death (1986)


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