Kwie Quartey | Ghana
Ever since I read Jacob Ross’ The Bone Readers that introduced me to crime fiction set in the Caribbean, with an authentic setting, characters, and story line, I’ve been on the lookout for an equally thrilling crime fiction series set in Africa. I recently discovered Ghanaian-American writer, Dr. Kwei Quartey’s (yes, he’s a medical doctor!) first book Wife Of The Gods.
Set in Accra, we are introduced to Detective Inspector Darko Dawson who is sent to a rural village to investigate the death of a young medical student. Quartey weaves this narrative with a mixture of characters representing both the old and new schools of thinking in Accra, against the backdrop of modern versus traditional medical and cultural practices. As Dawson tries to unravel what happened to the medical student, he encounters complex characters who, though unlikeable, may not actually be responsible for her death.
The narrative is interesting mostly because Darko is a likeable character, but also because he’s struggling with issues regarding his mother who is missing and his son who is sick, while balancing the demands of the investigation. Quartey addresses HIV-AIDS, police brutality, infidelity, and female victimization, in a Ghana that is modern yet still very traditional.
Though Quartey is a capable writer and I enjoyed this book, I admit that the mystery was merely a head-scratcher as opposed to an exciting mystery thriller. However, I must concede that this is his debut novel, and in the years since he has written six more books, his most recent published in 2021. So, my hope is that he’s been improving and perfecting his mystery style. But I think it’s good at times to have books that are of a different genre to balance out