Monday, 28 March 2011

In Memoriam

31 October 1926 - 27 March 2011

H(arry) R F Keating crime fiction author best known for his Inspector Ghote mysteries has died at the age of 84. Harry as he was known was Chairman of the Crime Writers Association from 1970-1971. He was also Chairman of the Society of Authors between 1983 and 1984, President of the Detection Club 1985 –2000 and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He was for 15 years crime fiction critic for The Times. He has written over 50 books.

Whilst he was best known for his Inspector Ghote mysteries he wrote his first novel Death and the Visiting Firemen in 1959. He also wrote a number of standalone novels as well as two other series featuring Detective Superintendent Harriet Martens and the “Detective” series, which were several novels about UK police detectives, whose human weaknesses adversely affect their work. Under the pseudonym Evelyn Hervey, Harry Keating wrote three novels in the mid eighties.

Harry wrote 26 books in the Inspector Ghote series. The first one in the series was The Perfect Murder whilst the last Inspector Ghote book is A Small Case for Inspector Ghote. Penguin are due to release in May 2011 as part of Penguin Modern Classics four Inspector Ghote Books (The Pefect Murder, Inspector Ghote Breaks an Egg, Inspector Ghote Trusts the Heart and Under a Monsoon Cloud) in new classic covers. These titles carry a new introduction by Alexander McCall Smith.

In 1988, The Perfect Murder was adapted for a film, directed by Zafar Hai and produced by Ismail Merchant.

Neil Simon turned his 1976 novel Murder by Death into a film featuring Truman Capote, Peter Falk, Alec Guinness, David Niven, Peter Sellers and Maggie Smith.

Harry also edited a number of anthologies including The Man Who…. in 1992 which was an anthology of crime stories commissioned by the Detection Club in celebration of Julian Symons’s 80th birthday. In celebration of his 80th birthday the Detection Club collaborated and produced an anthology entitled The Verdict of Us All.

As well as being a novelist he also wrote screenplays, was a reviewer and wrote a biography of Dame Agatha Christie entitled Agatha Christie: First Lady of Crime. He also wrote a number of well-known non-fiction novels on crime fiction. A number of them have become required reading as reference works.

He also won two CWA Gold Dagger awards one was for The Perfect Murder for best novel and the other was for a non-Ghote novel set in India, The Murder of the Maharajah. He also won a special Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America. In 1995 he was awarded the George N Dove for Contributions to the study of Crime Fiction and in 1996 he was awarded the Diamond Dagger from the CWA for lifetime achievement. Malice Domestic also awarded him the lifetime achievement award.

An obituary by Mike Ripley can be found in the Guardian and the Telegraph obituary can be found here.

Mike Ripley’s feature on Harry Keating for Shots ezine can be found here.

1 comment:

Mike Stotter said...

It is such a shame to learn about the death of another of crime's great writers. Harry was the very first crime writer I interviewed. I met him at his house and recall that I was very, very nervous, and Harry sensed this. He told me to take my time,and not to worry if the questions I will ask him were ones her had fielded so many times before. He quickly put me at my ease and answered those questions as if they were fresh and new. I think I have that small dictaphone tapes somewhere.
I met Harry quite a few times over the years and he remained a very kind and generous gentleman. Always taking the time to have a chat and a laugh.
RIP Harry.