Ayo Onatade is an avid reader of crime and mystery fiction. She has been writing reviews, interviews and articles on the subject for the last 12 years; with an eclectic taste from historical to hardboiled, short stories and noir films
The Perfect Murder is the first Inspector Ghote Mystery and Penguin have re-issued it as a Penguin Modern Classics series. It of course pre-dates such authors for example ad Colin Cotterill (Dr Siri), Tarquin Hall (Vish Puri Series) and Shamini Flint (Inspector Singh investigates series) to name a few.
It is just Inspector Ghote's luck to be landed with the case of The Perfect Murder as he starts his career with the Bombay Police. For in this most baffling of crimes not only does he have to deal with the cunning and important tycoon Lala Varde but he also has to deal with another “Very Important Person”, the Minister of Police and Arts who has had one rupee stolen from his desk. It is up to Inspector Ghote to weld way through the disdain and corruption to get to the bottom of what is going on.
In The Perfect Murder the author cannot resist some in-jokes as well. For example the eldest son of Lala Varde spends is whole time reading mysteries and the stolen rupee case is in fact somewhat of a locked room mystery.
Keating is the pioneer of the exotic detective novel and it is easy to understand why. His Inspector Ghote series have a charm of their own and they can be seen not only as mystery novels but as social documents as well. Whilst for some they may seem to be dated as they are not filled with the vast array of technology that most police use currently, in my opinion they are still worth reading not only for the dialogue but also for the way in which they have still managed to stand the test of time!
There are now 26 books in the Inspector Ghote Series and it is unsurprising that The Perfect Murder won the CWA Golden Dagger Award and a special Edgar Award. First published in 1964 it is about time that this series should be given the recognition that it deserves.