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The Perfect Murder

(Inspector Ghote #1)

3.27  ·  Rating details ·  362 ratings  ·  54 reviews
It is just Inspector Ghote's luck to be landed with the case of the Perfect Murder at the start of his career with the Bombay Police. For this most baffling of crimes there is the cunning and important tycoon Lala Varde to contend with. And if this were not enough, Ghote finds himself having to investigate the mysertious theft of one rupee from the desk of yet another Very ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by Chicago Review Press (first published 1964)
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3.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  362 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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Nov 16, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Very disappointed with this book. There was nothing Indian about the indian inspector Ghote. Read Vish Puri series by Tarquin Hall and you will see the difference.
Jul 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love these "cute" little books with foreign detectives. They're so light and airy and so different than the typical American detective.

When I read the obituary for H.R.F. Keating back in March, I decided I wanted to read at least one of his Inspector Ghote books. I discovered they're very hard to find outside a library. But I finally got my hands on my own copy of his first Ghote book: The Perfect Murder. Don't get excited. Mr. Perfect hasn't been murdered, but the media and Indian police see
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
Disappointing. I read an Inspector Ghote book 10-15 years ago and really enjoyed it. Over the years I got sucked into other series and lost track of this one. For whatever reason it popped back into my head and I decided to start the series from the beginning. However, this first book didn't measure up to what I had previously read. The characters were stereotypes and would have been equally at home in a sitcom. I will try another book or two, before I give up. After all, I did enjoy the book I ...more
Sylvia Kelso
May 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
After a 6-book attempt to get on terms with P. D. James, Inspector Ghote came as welcome relief. A human being! A person involved with other people and not ashamed of it! A person with so many neighbours he doesn't have time to worry about "privacy" - that word that jumps up every 6 pages or so in James. A detective with a family and best of all, a detective with a heart!
Whew! It was like leaving a dreary UK autumn day for a Delhi spring. Yeah, could be too hot and crowded eventually, but at lea
Sid Nuncius
Jan 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
As a readable detective story this is enjoyable and quite engaging. Alexander McCall Smith provides the enthusiastic introduction and one can see why because there is more than a faint echo of Ghote in Mma Ramotswe. They are both innocent but determined and resilient, both beacons of decency in a less than decent world and both rely heavily on a slightly obscure written authority for their methodology, with Mma Ramotswe's relationship with Clovis Andersen's `Principles of Private Detection' bear ...more
Jul 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime
Not quite perfect...

This is a light-hearted crime mystery set in Bombay. The hero, Inspector Ghote, is an attractive character, warm-hearted and honourable, trying to do the right thing by his job and his family in a system filled with corruption and incompetence. Unfortunately, the rest of the characters too often seemed like caricatures, and unlikeable ones at that. Everyone is portrayed as either foolish, incompetent, lying or corrupt – and that’s just the police! And then poor Ghote has to g
Sean Brennan
Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
I rather enjoyed this the first Inspector Ghote novel, what made this detective unusual was having as his city of operations Bombay after the Brits had left. This is what makes the book so appealing as the honourable and likable Ghote has to fight corruption, cronyism and the ridiculously Indian class system to get anywhere near the actual clues to the case. Highly enjoyable!
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In spite of the fabulous preface written by Alexander McCall Smith for the Penguin Classics 2011 edition, I was so baffled by what I was reading that I was about to abandon the book at least three times. The Inspector Ghote series is a rather hard nut, difficult to adapt to.

I'm afraid the newly independent India of the 1960s is not very different from today's India, and this is made me feel uneasy. Frankly, the India and the Indians described in a book are atrociously dumb, corrupt, and stupidl
The author has done really good research about India and Indians. The environment and the characters feel very authentic. However Mr.Ghote fails to impress me as a cop. His questioning isnt very impressive. He doesnt seem to be listening fully to what his suspects are saying. When Athelya says he had put some conditions Ghote doesnt follow thru with more questions on it. He makes a huge effort to catch Neena for questioning but runs away abruptly. The suspense built just peters out. Only in page ...more
Gaynor Thomas
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I listened to this as an audiobook. It was read by an Indian narrator which made it feel really authentic, and I loved it! Inspector Ghote is a lovely character, and I am looking forward to listening to the next book in the series.
Masayuki Arai
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Nonetheless, he should arrest him.
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This was homework. If not it would have been DNF
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This story seemed to me to be going in circles with a lot of back and forth as the inspector tries to find the perpetrator of the theft of one rupee that interrupts his investigation of a more important crime, the so-called perfect murder. There is a lot of dialogue with the employer of the victim, which also seems to go in circles. Each big or little setback in the investigation is detailed. I was glad when the solution was finally revealed.
Ankan Rajkumar
H.R.F Keating is a writer I had read about in the newspapers (in The Telegraph, Kolkata) as a college student.At that point of time I was hardly interested in crime fiction or had read up a very tiny amount of this genre. It was limited to Bismoi (An Assamese magazine-special edition stories), a few Sherlock Holmes short stories and a couple of novels of the popular Bhaskar-Rongmon Series (Assamese). So when a few months back I saw the Inspector Ghote series by Keating on an online store I could ...more
Aug 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Perfect Murder is the first in a series of detective novels. The detective is the Indian copper Inspector Ghote of the Bombay (now Mumbai) CID. After falling in love with the cover design to find that the murder victim is the elderly private secretary Mr. Perfect cemented my affection. I knew then that this was no crush. It was love.

Mr. Perfect had been employed by Lala Arun Varde a very rich man with influence at the highest levels. It is soon apparent that Mr Varde's distress at his secre
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
This is not really a detective novel or police procedural. It's not even a cosy. It might be considered a parody of those, but that's all. The Inspector wanders around from pillar to post, stonewalled at every turn by a wealthy, fat businessman who rhymes ridiculously and his playboy sons--and all officialdom. (And what was the point of saddling him with a visiting Swedish sidekick?)
The author had never been to India and it shows. Cardboard caricatures for characters, no real mention of places,
Maya Panika
Apr 03, 2011 rated it did not like it
Inspector Ghote of the Bombay CID is sent to investigate an attack on Mr Perfect, employee in the household of the, apparently very important, Lala Arun Varde. None of the potential witnesses is in the least cooperative, they seem to have a low opinion of both Inspector Ghote and the victim as people of no importance. In the midst of this frustrating investigation, he is sent by his superiors on a priority case, the theft of one rupee from the desk of the even more important Minister Of Police A ...more
Mar 21, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kirsty by: Review copy from Amazon Vine
I had high hopes for this novel. The premise was interesting and I like mystery and thriller novels. I also love to read about other cultures and so I was looking forward to reading this story set in India. To be honest I felt a little let down.

The plot started with promise - Inspector Ghote is given a murder case to investigate and is asked to take with him a Swedish criminologist who is there to report on the Bombay police department's functionality. He's also told to investigate the number on
The Perfect Murder by H.R.F. Keating is the first book of the series featuring Inspector Ghote of Bombay (now Mumbai C.I.D). I had always wanted to read this series, as I had been recommended about it a lot. But, after reading this book I can fairly say that I am hugely disappointed. And, I really have doubts whether I will ever read this series again.
The characters in this novel were not engrossing. Neither Inspector Ghote nor the other characters in the books. They were unreal, and somehow we
This is the first in a series of mysteries featuring Inpector Ghote of the Bombay CID recently rereleased as a Penguin Modern Classic. I don't know how many titles there are in the series, but as in the introduction we are told the author didn't set foot in India until the first nine were written I'd hazard a guess there are at least ten!

Now, I do love a good mystery, or what my mother calls 'a nice murder' and although I was entertained enough by this I don't think it will finding a permanent h
Nov 09, 2012 rated it liked it
I decided to try the Inspector Ghote series after reading that its creator, HRF Keating, had recently passed away. The setting in Bombay in the 1960s was a nice escape from post-Sandy news. I enjoyed the vivid descriptions of the locale, including the unbearable pre-monsoon weather. The protagonist is unlike any other detective I have encountered, bony, humble, fiercely determined, and dedicated to his wife, son, and the principles of his beloved second-hand copy of Gross's Criminal Investigatio ...more
This I loved. It's comedy and social critic masquerading as a mystery novel. Written in the mid 60's, this is the first Inspector Ghote novel. Set in Bombay some 15 years after India became independent, we follow inspector Ghote, a young husband and father, trying to be a good policeman, a good inspector, following the rules, pursing justice and all that but coming up against the powers of tradition, religion, racism, money, corruption. He's like a Charlie Brown type of character that we kinda i ...more
Sep 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: india, mysteries
I had not read this series for a while so I started with the first. A Perfect Murder won some prizes but that was in a different era. I thought Inspector Ghote was too downtrodden, disrespected by the people he questions, by his superiors, by his nagging fishwife of a spouse and almost every one he came in contact with. This was tiring. He is an intelligent thoughtful man on the one hand, and extremely naive on the other since he considers having read one book on the investigation of crimes he k ...more
Jul 23, 2011 rated it liked it
c1964. Keating - aka Evelyn Hervey 1926-2011, I think, was a somewhat underrated writer. His novels feature Inspector Ghote and are set in India and are really great quick reads. When Mr Keating wrote this book, he had never been to India at all which may account for the somewhat “colonial” flavour of the book. This book won the highly coveted CWA Gold Dagger Award in 1964 and an Edgar Special Award from the Mystery Writers of America. Highly recommended. FWFTB: Bombay, cunning, rupee, desk, pol ...more
Jun 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
Set in India in the 1960's, Inspector Ghote, a Bombay detective, is asked to investigate the attack on a Mr. Perfect, an employee of a very influential man. This debut of the Inspector Ghote series was a disappointment for me for many reasons. Although I liked both main characters, I found the plot somewhat dull. I also thought that rather than portraying the eccentricities of Indian culture, the author was very condescending in his attempts to be humorous. Perhaps this was offensive in the time ...more
Mar 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is the first of the Inspector Ghote series, set in India. It is a fascinating portrait of a policeman who essentially lives in two cultures, his own India and his ideal of a Western-style logical and empirical police force. One fascinating character is an Indian businessman who speaks in rhyme. Another fascinating "character" is Ghote's India.

Note that some of the reviews on Amazon are about an entirely different book.
Dec 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
I was more interested in the book at the start then I was at the end. I was overall a little bored by the book- I was expected Sherlock kind of detective stuff but this was either very very rudimentary or so elaborate in set up that I just don't understand it. I have a sneaking suspicion I just don't get it. It also took me a long time to get through it because I wasn't hooked at any point really. Overall, I say it's good to read just for the sake of reading but it's definitely not riveting.
Jun 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: india, fiction, detective
Newly appointed to the Bombay police force, Inspector Ghote tries hard to solve his first two cases --- an assault on a servant, and the theft of one rupee from his boss's boss, the minister of police affairs and the arts --- without upturning the societal order or relying on explanations about the mysticism of the East. Earnest and kind of charming.
Jun 26, 2014 rated it did not like it
Keating's approach to the story is quite bland .The story does not give you the chills or thrills that a mystery book must possess. Even though the crime is ordinary, Ghote's approach to the case could have spiced it up, but Keating keeps him on a leash and refuses to budge . Overall this book was a dissapointment.
Oct 01, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Awful! I do love a cosy mystery and when I saw that this was a gold dagger winning novel I couldn't wait to read it!
I wish I never bothered!
I spent most of my reading time getting annoyed with all the characters, and wound up by the plot. I felt nothing for any of them except irritation. The only reason I bothered to finish the book was because I can never start a book and not finish it.
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Henry Reymond Fitzwalter Keating was an English writer of crime fiction most notable for his series of novels featuring Inspector Ghote of the Bombay CID.

H. R. F. KEATING was well versed in the worlds of crime, fiction and nonfiction. He was the crime books reviewer for The Times for fifteen years, as well as serving as the chairman of the Crime Writers Association and the Society of Authors. He w

Other books in the series

Inspector Ghote (1 - 10 of 26 books)
  • Inspector Ghote's Good Crusade (Inspector Ghote, #2)
  • Inspector Ghote Caught in Meshes (Inspector Ghote, #3)
  • Inspector Ghote Hunts the Peacock (Inspector Ghote, #4)
  • Inspector Ghote Plays a Joker (Inspector Ghote, #5)
  • Inspector Ghote Breaks an Egg (Inspector Ghote, #6)
  • Inspector Ghote Goes By Train (Inspector Ghote, #7)
  • Inspector Ghote Trusts the Heart (Inspector Ghote, #8)
  • Bats Fly Up for Inspector Ghote (Inspector Ghote, #9)
  • Filmi, Filmi, Inspector Ghote (Inspector Ghote, #10)
  • Inspector Ghote Draws a Line (Inspector Ghote, #11)