Sunday, September 4, 2011

Staff Picks! Wife of the Gods by Kwei Quartey

Wife of the Gods is the 2009 debut novel of Ghanaian author Kwei Quartey. It is a mystery novel set in modern day Ghana and features charismatic Detective Inspector Darko Dawson.

Darko is drawn into the case of a murdered medical student, requiring him to leave his comfortable home and loving family. He only wants to wrap things up quickly and return home to his city life in Accra. But Darko finds it is rather difficult navigate the tricky tensions between modern and traditional beliefs in rural Ghana.

Author Kwei Quartey, who is also a practicing medical doctor in California, obviously knows this setting intimately, infusing the story with vivid descriptions of West Africa and it's vibrant people. Similar to Alexander McCall's The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, the geographic setting will be a big part of the appeal for many readers. You will feel as if you have been to Ghana.

The clash of modern science versus age-old customs provides for an engaging storyline, creating the tension that drives the novel. Darko also his own emotional baggage, which complicates everything, creating even more tension. The characters are richly drawn and the pacing is somewhat relaxed, just like much of Africa itself.

A very promising debut for what hopefully turns into a long and successful series.

Quartey has recently released the second in the series, Children of the Street: a novel. The third in the series Men of the Rig, in due for release in 2012.

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