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The Hard Detective [Hardcover]

H. R. F. Keating


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Book Description

May 2000
Two of DCI Harriet Martens' officers have died within hours of each other, the circumstances of their deaths echoing the Book of Exodus - "a life for a life, and eye for an eye". If it is a series, can she prevent the six deaths to follow, beginning with "a tooth for a tooth"?
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (May 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031224648X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312246488
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 13.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,557,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

H.R.F. Keating wrote the book on crime fiction (several, actually, including his 1991 text Writing Crime Fiction) and has, over time, built a thoroughbred stable of police detectives. With The Hard Detective's Harriet Martens, the stable grows by one memorable, and memorably unpleasant, entrant.

Detective Chief Inspector Martens doesn't care for criminals, whether truants or axe-wielding thugs, nor does she suffer her less-than-perfect underlings gladly. She does, however, care about the quality of life in Greater Birchester, and she happily hobbles, via her Gestapoesque yet successful "Stop the Rot" campaign, all who go astray. And all's well in Greater B. until Patrol Constable "Titty" Titmuss comes down with a case of knife-in-the-back. A blue-clad hint that the underworld has had enough of "Stop the Rot"? Plausible, until another constable, momentarily blinded, succumbs to the wheels of a city bus, and the loathsome Detective Superintendent "Froggy" Froggott is stabbed through the mouth and relieved of a tooth.

It's soon clear to those with eyes that a serial killer fond of biblical verse is strolling through Exodus 21:23 and taking the coppers with him. Knowing full well who the smiter is, Martens races her prey to a better-than-expected denouement.

It's a testament to Keating's skill that The Hard Detective is as entertaining as it is, even though it's not his best. Newcomers might want to start with the Ghote series opener, 1964's The Perfect Murder. That said, it just may be that veteran readers have come to expect ever greater things from the man who wrote the book. --Michael Hudson

From Publishers Weekly

Contemporary British police procedural meets old-fashioned puzzle mystery in this slick, streamlined effort from veteran Edgar-winner Keating (The Bad Detective, The Soft Detective, etc.). Detective Chief Inspector Harriet Martens has put Greater Birchester's criminal element on notice with her tough "Stop the Rot" campaign. Now she faces a far greater challenge: tracking down the fiend who's taken to murdering police officers in accordance with the "eye for eye, tooth for tooth" passage from Exodus. Though she identifies the killer fairly early on, the hard detective cannot prevent further deaths, all contrived to fit the biblical verse. The murder motive, once revealed, becomes simply a given. In the end Harriet deliberately puts herself at risk, daring the crazed killer to come after her "stripe for stripe," that is, with a whip. You can bet that she'll get a taste of the lash that she might otherwise have avoided by taking some basic security precautions. (Picking up the suspect, of whom the police have a good description, at one of the city's sex shops that sell whips might have been worth a try, too.) A formulaic plot and minimal characterization allow Keating to focus on the essentials of crime and detection. Harriet's spirited exchanges with psychologist Dr. Peter "Smellyfeet" Scholl (on the treatment of criminals) and with tabloid reporter Tim Patterson (on the role of the press) lend some welcome texture to a shallow if compelling entertainment. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard Justice Oct. 8 2000
By booksforabuck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Harriet Martin is the hard detective--she is always sure she's right. In THE HARD DETECTIVE, she faces a criminal who is even harder and even more certain about justice. The criminal is exacting the justice from Exodus--a life for a life, an eye for an eye, etc. on the police force of Birchester (England). Somehow Harriet must track down the killer before the police department is decimated. Yet can she do so and remain the Hard Detective?
H. R. F. Keating has written a book that will intrigue the reader both through its subject matter and through the interesting differences between police procedures in the U.S. and in Britain. Harriet grows as a character, starting off harsh, yet becoming more human when faced with the logical consequences of her own belief structures. Initially she finds the justice of 'an eye for an eye' appealing.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ghost? Aug. 27 2001
By S. Wheeler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I really like H.R.F.Keating, and can hardly believe he wrote this book. I couldn't even finish it. "Doctor Smellyfeet"? "Mr. Man"? Was that supposed to be funny? The "Stop the Rot" campaign? This one had to be to see if we were paying attention. Ugh!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars too harsh a protagonist, feels stereotypical April 25 2000
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Her loathing of criminals is so intense that the criminalelement calls her THE HARD DETECTIVE. Deputy Chief Inspector HarrietMartenns is in charge of the "Stop the Rot" campaigndesigned to get all criminals, even those committing petty crimes off the streets. She carries out her assignment with a zeal that at times can be frightening...
THE HARD DETECTIVE is not an easy character to like because Harriet expects perfection at all costs, which makes her seem unbearable and intolerant. Superintendent Martens behaves more like a crime fighting caricature than a human being. Though the serial killer story line will hold interest of die-hard sub-genre fans, other readers will prefer some of the marvelous other works by H.R.F. Keating.

Harriet Klausner
5.0 out of 5 stars HRF Keating anpther hit! Sept. 18 2013
By David Gomm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I had read one of his later novels and this is the first one where he introduces "The Hard Detective" a woman who has a talent for policing. It's an engaging story and I plan to get more in the series. It is unfortunate that they don't organize Keatings works by series, because titles are often mixed.

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