The Perfect Murder (Keating)

On his first appearance, Inspector Ghote, the Bombay-based creation of a writer who had never visited India, is more of an underdog than he would be in later books, where he would show determination and intelligence beneath his overwhelming sense of inferiority.  The crime takes its name from that of the victim, secretary to the tycoon Lala Arun Varde; this is the only respect in which it is at all “perfect.”  The tying-in of the crime with the ministerial theft is ingeniously handled.  Despite the muddle, the book is a very creditable entry in the series, with more detective interest than others, and, despite stonewalling, his inability to deal with authority and Swedes, Ghote struggles through to what may be called a triumph, even if only “a triumph of the incompetent.”


A Catalogue of Crime (Barzun & Taylor, 1989): With this volume the author broke away from the fanciful style and began to give accounts of the ill-treated but conscientious detective—Insp. Ganesh Ghote of the Bombay C.I.D.  The murder is “perfect” only because Perfect is the name of the intended victim.  Plenty of interesting local colour and almost as much humour as various English papers and critics claim to have found.