H.R.F. Keating (universally known as Harry) is the doyen of British crime writing – and of crime reviewing too. He has twice won the CWA Gold Dagger, and he has also received the ultimate honour in British crime fiction, the CWA Diamond Dagger for his lifetime achievement in the field. Critics have heaped praise on his work for decades, and with good reason. Among his many career highpoints, a book of his called The Murder of the Maharajah is probably my personal favourite. It isn’t (except in a cleverly indirect way) a Ghote novel, but it’s a first-rate mystery.
Apart from the rich entertainment he has given to readers for about half a century, he has always encouraged less eminent writers – including me. So it is a real pleasure to record that Allison & Busby have recently published the latest mystery to feature Harry’s most famous character, Inspector Ganesh Ghote.
A Small Case for Inspector Ghote sees our hero becoming involved with the hunt for a brutal murderer, whose victim is a peon called Bikram The dead man’s lowly status means that there is no great desire to see justice done on his behalf. But Ghote, humane to his core, thinks differently.
Because, understandably and properly, exciting young writers tend to grab the headlines, there is a danger of an undesirable consequence – that veterans such as Harry Keating are taken for granted by the reading public and overlooked by present day reviewers. But I really do hope that the new Ghote book receives plenty of attention and that Harry keeps entertaining us for years to come.