cover image Doing Wrong: An Inspector Ghote Novel

Doing Wrong: An Inspector Ghote Novel

H. R. F. Keating. O. Penzler Books, $20 (218pp) ISBN 978-1-883402-80-8

This quiet, thoughtful novel by Gold Dagger winner Keating (Go West, Inspector Ghote) is crime fiction as philosophical disquisition-on right and wrong, ends and means, sin and redemption. From Bombay, the exquisitely courteous, ever persistent police detective, Inspector Ghote, travels to the holy city of Banaras to find the murderer of the much loved Mrs. Popatkar, ``veteran freedom fighter, former Minister, upholder of a hundred good causes.'' In Banaras, H.K. Verma, respected political leader, frees himself from the sin of that murder (and its consequences) by bathing in the Ganges. The story continues with alternating points of view-Ghote gradually uncovering pieces of the puzzle and Verma longing to confess while simultaneously hatching schemes to foil the investigation. In spite of a leisurely pace befitting a country where foot-sore pilgrims, sacred cattle and auto rickshaws clog the roads, this is an absorbing tale and an illuminating tour of Banaras, its religious sites and ceremonies (and its brothels), with a distinctly Hindu denouement. (Oct.)