(Editor’s note: UK crime novelist and scholar H.R.F. Keating died on March 27 at age 84, but it wasn’t until today that he was finally laid to rest. His friend and fellow author, Mike Ripley, was among the mourners and brings us this brief report on the event.)
The funeral took place today of British crime writer H.R.F. “Harry” Keating, at Mortlake Crematorium in west London, on the banks of the river Thames.
Baroness P.D. James gave the opening tribute, recounting her friendship with Harry and praising not only his Inspector Ghote as one of the “great creations of detective fiction,” but also his work as a critic and reviewer of crime novels and the many books he wrote outside the crime genre.
Family tributes came from his widow, Sheila (who wore Harry’s Cartier Diamond Dagger pin in his memory), as well as their children: Simon, Bryony, Piers, and Hugo.
Many colleagues from The Detection Club and the Crime Writers’ Association attended, including Margaret Yorke, Simon Brett, Peter Lovesey, Donald Rumbelow, and Andrew Taylor.
At numerous times during the remembrance service, reference was made to Harry’s pleasure at being seen as something of an eccentric. To celebrate this, those attending were asked to sing not a dirge or a hymn, but Harry’s favorite Christmas Carol, “Good King Wenceslas”!