Friday, 2 April 2010

Under a Monsoon Cloud. By H.R.F. Keating

Under a Monsoon Cloud

H.R.F. Keating

Arrow Books. Published in 1986 in Great Britain.

This is an Inspector Ghote story, the only one I have read. Inspector Ghote is an honest policeman in the Bombay police force in the late 1970s and early 80s. He is the chief character in about 5 or 6 novels written by HRF Keating. This story is unremarkable. Ghote finds himself in a situation where he has to abet in a crime committed by a much-adored senior officer, who later commits a guilty suicide. Ghote then has to battle his conscience and an inquiry committee constituted to investigate Ghote's role in the crime. The conflicts ultimately are resolved unsatisfactorily. However the writing is quite pleasant, and Keating's descriptions of Bombay in the monsoon are quite evocative of my own experiences of them. Keating tries very hard to imitate the speech habits of Indians, including the constant use of the present continuous tense, but overdoes it often. However, the whole effect is not unpleasant, and Ghote and his family come across as quite likeable people, even if somewhat flat. Nice.