Cover image for Book Club kit : Wife of the gods
Book Club kit : Wife of the gods
Random House trade pbk. ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2010.
Physical Description:
10 bks. (x, 319 pages) : map ; 21 cm. + 1 discussion guide
[Inspector Darko Dawson mystery]
General Note:
Series statement from hardcover printing.
An original debut novel set in Ghana, this is the story of Detective Inspector Darko Dawson, who's sent from the big city to the village of Ketanu to solve the murder of an accomplished young AIDS worker. Darko's own mother disappeared from this same village many years ago, and as the mystery unfolds, the reader meets a rich cast of characters, and learns about Trokosi, a system where young teenage girls are sent to live with fetish priests to bring good fortune to their families. Darko explores the motivations and secrets of the residents of Ketanu, and in addition to solving a recent murder, discovers the shocking truth about his own mother's disappearance.
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Item Notes

On Order



"Fans of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency may have a new hero: Detective Inspector Darko Dawson."-- The Wall Street Journal

Introducing Detective Inspector Darko Dawson: dedicated family man, rebel in the office, ace in the field--and one of the most appealing sleuths to come along in years. When we first meet Dawson, he's been ordered by his cantankerous boss to leave behind his loving wife and young son in Ghana's capital city to lead a murder investigation: In a shady grove outside the small town of Ketanu, a young woman--a promising medical student--has been found dead under suspicious circumstances. Dawson is fluent in Ketanu's indigenous language, so he's the right man for the job, but the local police are less than thrilled with an outsider's interference. For Dawson, this sleepy corner of Ghana is rife with emotional land mines: an estranged relationship with the family he left behind twenty-five years earlier and the painful memory of his own mother's inexplicable disappearance. Armed with remarkable insight and a healthy dose of skepticism, Dawson soon finds his cosmopolitan sensibilities clashing with age-old customs, including a disturbing practice in which teenage girls are offered to fetish priests as trokosi, or Wives of the Gods. Delving deeper into the student's haunting death, Dawson will uncover long-buried secrets that, to his surprise, hit much too close to home.

Praise for Wife of the Gods

"An absolute gem . . . mystery fans have an important new voice to savor." -- Los Angeles Times

"Full of suspense, humor and plot twists . . . Quartey's remarkable characters give the reader a worthy whodunit." -- Ebony

"[A] winning debut . . . Dawson is a wonderful creation, a man as rich with contradictions as the Ghana Quartey so delightfully evokes." -- Publishers Weekly

"Engrossing . . . [Quartey] renders a compelling cast of characters. . . . Fans of McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency will relish the opportunity to discover yet another intriguing area of Africa." -- Booklist (starred review)

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Quartey's winning debut, a police procedural set in modern Ghana, introduces gifted detective Darko Dawson. Dawson leaves the capital city of Accra to investigate a murder in remote Ketanu, where traditional beliefs about the spirit world still reign. He finds no lack of suspects, as the beautiful victim was a married man's impatient mistress and a controversial crusader against AIDS and trokosi, the ancient custom in which young girls become slave wives to local priests. Ketanu is also the village from which Dawson's mother disappeared years before, and his visits awaken a buried need to solve that mystery as well. Dawson is a wonderful creation, a man as rich with contradictions as the Ghana Quartey so delightfully evokes-a loving husband and father with anger management issues on the job and a personal fondness for marijuana. Despite a not hugely exciting denouement, readers will be eager for the next installment in what one hopes will be a long series. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Quartey's crisp, engrossing debut introduces readers to Darko Dawson, a talented and temperamental detective inspector in Accra, capital city of Ghana. As the novel opens, DI Dawson is called out to the remote village of Ketanu to investigate the suspicious death of Gladys Mensah, a medical student and passionate AIDS worker. Was Gladys killed for her professional ambition (she had a run-in with a local healer who was convinced she was stealing his potions) or because of an unrequited romance with a married man? Returning to Ketanu is a deeply emotional experience for DI Dawson, whose mother disappeared there more than two decades before. He immediately senses the hostility of the Ketanu police, who resent having a big-city officer in their midst. He is also unsettled by the area's tolerance of the custom of trokosi, in which beleaguered families atone for sins by marrying off their young daughters to fetish priests. Quartey, a Ghana-born medical doctor who now lives in Los Angeles, renders a compelling cast of characters inhabiting a world precariously perched between old and new. Fans of McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novels will relish the opportunity to discover yet another intriguing area of Africa.--Block, Allison Copyright 2009 Booklist

Library Journal Review

A medical resident working with Ghana's Ministry of Health's AIDS program is murdered, and Detective Inspector Darko Dawson has been asked to investigate. Not only is he an excellent detective but he has family ties to the village. Alas, nothing about this case is simple, and the growing rift between Dawson's modern police work and a local inspector's refusal to move past traditionally accepted beliefs jeopardizes a successful arrest. The uncommon grace and style of the writing will engender comparisons with Alexander McCall Smith's Botswana stories, but this novel has more grit. Darko is a sleuth full of contradictions, a tough defender of justice and truth who is also a habitual pot smoker. Yet it's the crossover between Dark's professional life and personal issues that helps drive the plot and makes his story more relatable. This well-crafted first novel is a smart purchase for all libraries and a great choice for a book club discussion. [Library marketing; for an African mystery readalike, see also Michael Stanley's The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu.-Ed.]-Stacey Hayman, Rocky River P.L., OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter One   INSPECTOR MAX FITI had great significance in a place that had little. He was the head of police in Ketanu, a small town in the Adaklu-Anyigbe District of Ghana's Volta Region. All he had was a small police station as ragged as a stray dog, two constables, and an old police vehicle that ran erratically, but when there was trouble, people turned to Fiti.   Case in point: Charles Mensah, a fortyish man with a painfully thin body and a bulbous head like a soldier termite, had just come into his office this morning to report his sister missing.   "When did you last see Gladys?" Fiti asked.   "Yesterday afternoon, around three," Charles said. "Just before she left for Bedome."   "She went to Bedome? To do what?"   "You know she's a volunteer with the Ghana Health Service AIDS outreach. She goes to different villages to teach and so on."   "Aha, yes."   The village of Bedome was east of Ketanu on the other side of the forest.   "When she didn't come back home yesterday evening," Charles continued, "I thought it was strange, so I rang her mobile and left a message. She never called back and I started to get worried, so then I rang Timothy Sowah, the director of the AIDS program, and he said he too had been unable to reach her on the mobile."   "Maybe she went to another village where the reception is poor?" Fiti suggested.   "Mr. Sowah told me Bedome was the only place she was scheduled to visit," Charles replied.   "Are you sure she actually got to Bedome? I mean, not that I'm saying something bad happened on the way, but-"   "I understand what you mean, Inspector. I got up early this morning-I couldn't sleep anyway-and I went to Bedome to check. Everyone told me yes, that Gladys had been there yesterday and she had left some time before sunset to go back to Ketanu."   True, less than twenty-four hours had passed, Fiti reflected, but he agreed this was all very troubling. Gladys Mensah was a serious girl-   reliable, solid, and smart. And beautiful. Very, very lovely indeed. So, yes, Fiti took this seriously. He jotted some notes on a legal pad, sitting slightly sideways because his rotund belly prevented him from pulling up close to his desk. Fiti was approaching the half-century mark in age, and most of the weight he had recently been gaining had gone to his midsection.   "Something else I want to tell you," Charles said. "Maybe it's nothing, but while I was on my way to Bedome this morning, I spoke to some farmers who have their plots near the forest. They told me that while they were working yesterday evening, they saw Samuel Boateng talking to Gladys as she was on her way back to Ketanu."   Inspector Fiti's eyes narrowed. "Is that so?"   He didn't like the Boateng family much. Samuel, the second oldest boy, was a ruffian who had once stolen a packet of PK chewing gum from a market stall.   "Have you asked Samuel or his father about it?" Fiti said.   "We don't speak to the Boatengs," Charles said tersely.   Fiti pressed his lips together. "Don't worry, I'll go and see them myself."   Chapter Two   EFIA WAS A TROKOSI, which meant that she belonged to the gods. Eighteen years ago, her uncle Kudzo beat a man to death with a branch from a baobab tree. Over the next several months, bad things began to happen to the family: crops failed because of drought, Efia's mother had a stroke, and a cousin drowned in a river. Everyone in the family panicked. Even though Uncle Kudzo had been imprisoned for his crime, it appeared the gods were punishing the family for what he had done. Excerpted from Wife of the Gods: A Novel by Kwei Quartey All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.