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Wife of the Gods by Kwei Quartey

Wife of the Gods (2009)

by Kwei Quartey

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery (1)

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4406837,875 (3.84)102
An original debut novel set in Ghana, is the story of Detective Inspector Darko Dawson, who is 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.… (more)



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This brought back such vivid memories of Ghana! Well told, well told and so accurately reflecting the Ghana I knew but with cell phones added.
I attended one fetish priest ceremony and I was seriously impressed with its efficacy. A woman who had just given birth to her 3rd child didn’t want to take care of it. It was obvious she must be possessed by an evil spirit, so the village shut down business as usual, took care of her children, put her in a special hut with special food and had a huge banquet and ritual dance to expel the demons. The woman was cured! If only we knew to treat post-partum depression so lovingly. It was obviously not this woman’s fault that she didn’t want to care for her child. The village took responsibility.
But then I heard, chillingly,of a foreign engineer trapped in the building of lights for the new stadium in Kumasi; he hung there until he died. They did not try to rescue him because the gods of the stadium wanted him.
I could not reconcile the deep wisdom of the fetish exorcism with the maddening fear which sacrificed a life.
These same ribboning of reality happens in this novel. The author now lives in Los Angeles. It scares me to think of what he might write should he turn his eye to the LA cultural brew. I hope he finds as much to celebrate. I know he will uncover the same tragedies of ignorance and fear.
( )
  MaryHeleneMele | May 6, 2019 |
I am happy I found [bc:Wife of the Gods|6105001|Wife of the Gods|Kwei Quartey|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1431920672s/6105001.jpg|6282323] Thanks to my 2016 challenge which suggested, "Read the first in a series by a person of color".

The main character is Inspector Darko Dawson who works in Accra, the capital of Ghana. Inspector Dawson is a manly man who needs to control his fist and respects women. (The character appeared in my head to be similar in stature to the actor David Harewood. I know David Harewood is British but one would never suspect it after his performance as "Captain Poison" in the movie Blood Diamond.) Inspector Dawson is sent to assist with a case in a distant village, Ketanu, because he speaks the language. His family is originally from Ketanu.

A brief glossary of terms at the end of the book was helpful with the dialogue. If I had not been interrupted by a tonsillectomy, I would have read this book much faster. The culture and the character development interested me. I could see myself continuing with the series. I liked Inspector Dawson and might find it relaxing to catch up with him during a vacation or after a heavy read. ( )
  godmotherx5 | Apr 5, 2018 |
Book Description:
Detective Inspector Darko Dawson, a good family man and a remarkably intuitive sleuth, is sent to the village of Ketanu-the site of his mother's disappearance many years ago-to solve the murder of an accomplished young AIDS worker. While battling his own anger issues and concerns for his ailing son, Darko explores the motivations and secrets of the residents of Ketanu. It soon becomes clear that in addition to solving a recent murder, he is about to unravel the shocking truth about his mother's disappearance. Kwei Quartey's sparkling debut novel introduces readers to a rich cast of characters, including the Trokosi-young women called Wives of the Gods-who, in order to bring good fortune to their families, are sent to live with fetish priests. Set in Ghana, with the action moving back and forth between the capital city of Accra and a small village in the Volta Region, Wife of the Gods brings the culture and beauty of its setting brilliantly to life.

My Review:
I found Kwei Quartey to be an excellent storyteller. His vivid descriptions take you to Ghana in West Africa and you feel like you're there with the characters. The book is skillfully plotted with lots of twists and turns and hooks you from the beginning until the end. The characters are excellently developed and Darko is a flawed protagonist but really cares about his people. I learned a lot about the African culture and how it conflicts with the law. I look forward to reading the 2nd installment and would recommend this series to those who would like an escape to Ghana in West Africa. ( )
  EadieB | Oct 20, 2017 |
Not sure how I feel about the detective and his methods. It can be hard to like a book if you don't like the character's behavior. I think I'll read another one in the series and see how it goes. Perhaps the detective's methods mature a bit. ( )
  Lindoula | Sep 25, 2017 |
Detective Inspector Darko Dawson of the Accra branch of the CID is sent to Ketanu to investigate the murder of a young woman, Gladys Mensah, who was studying medicine. She was especially interested in finding a cure for AIDS. Dawson and the local chief Fiti did not always see eye to eye on suspects or how to treat them. Police brutality is a bit of an issue. Dawson was assigned the case because he spoke the local dialect. His mother's family was from the area, and he was familiar with it. His aunt lived there. In fact, Darko's mom never returned home from a trip there years earlier. Although the author used red herrings, I figured this one out pretty early on and wondered how Darko would handle it when he figured it out. I am not a huge fan of African settings, but this one worked for me. The characters were interesting, and it was interesting to discover some aspects of modern culture are present in the country. I look forward to the next installment. I listened to the audio book from Tantor Media, narrated by Simon Prebble, who did an excellent job. ( )
  thornton37814 | Mar 10, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kwei Quarteyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Papa. He would have loved to see this.
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The forest was black and Darko was afraid to enter.
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Book description
Kwei Quartey's debut novel brings to life the majesty and charm of Ghana--from the capital city of Accra to a small community where long-buried secrets are about to rise to the surface,

In a shady grove outside the small town of Ketanu, a young woman--a promising med student--has been fond dead under suspicious circumstances. Eager to close the case, the local police have arrested a poor, enamored teenage boy and charged him with murder. Needless to say, they are less than thrilled when an outside force arrives from the big city to lead an inquiry into a baffling case.

Detective Inspector Darko Dawson, fluent in Ketanu's indigenous language, is the right man for the job, but he hates the idea of leaving his loving wife and young son, a plucky kid with a defective heart. Pressured by his cantankerous boss, Dawson agrees to travel to Ketanu, sort through the evidence, and tie up the loose ends as quickly and efficiently as possible. But 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 sudden, inexplicable disappearance. Dawson is armed with remarkable insight and a healthy dose of skepticism, but these gifts, sometimes overshadowed by his mercurial temper, may not be enough to solve this haunting mystery. In Ketanu, he finds that his cosmopolitan sensibilities clash with age-old customs, including a disturbing practice in which teenage girls are offered by their families as trokosi, of Wives of the Gods. [adapted from the jacket]
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