Rated of 5
Murder Unravels Secrets
Wife of the Gods by Kwei Quartey is an impressive debut, a murder mystery set in modern Ghana. The reader quickly learns the mystery is who killed Gladys, a promising medical student, as she was on her way home to Ketanu, a small village in the Volta region. Efia, a wife of the Gods, is the one who stumbles across Gladys’ body, in a forest that separates two villages. As in any small village, the news spreads quickly and everyone has an opinion on who committed the murder. But another mystery also appears; who called the Minister of Health to insist that a detective from Criminal Investigations Department headquarters be in charge of the murder investigation, instead of the local police? So Detective Inspector Darko Dawson is selected to lead the investigation, which will have several twists and turns with expected and unexpected secrets revealed before the case is closed.
But the delight of this novel is the character, Darko Dawson. Dawson is a very likable character, but he is not without his flaws. The reader can appreciate his strong sense of justice and how those who commit injustices should be handled. At times, his hot temper will have Dawson using unconventional methods to solve an issue. The reader will forgive Dawson his transgressions and root for him not to be found out. Dawson has a strong need to protect those he loves and his relationship with his wife, Christine, reveals a strong commitment and respect for each other. I hope to see more of their relationship and Christine in future stories.
As Dawson goes through his investigative process, the reader is taken into the lives of the diverse characters that are part of the story. Mr. Quartey effectively uses the characters to portray the modern Ghanaian culture and its contracts; big city/small village attitudes, gender roles, and superstition/witchcraft.
I recommend this well-crafted novel to all mystery readers. While Mr.Quartey’s style is all his own, readers who enjoy stories that effectively blend native culture as an integral part of the story will want to get in on this series from the beginning. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series and seeing what Darko Dawson is up to.