Monday, August 24, 2009

Review & Blog Tour: Wife of the Gods by Kwei Quartey

Twenty five years ago, Darko Dawson's mother left their home in the capitol city of Ghana and went to the small village of Ketanu to visit her sister, who had just had her first child. She never returned. She vanished, seemingly into thin air. No trace of her was ever found, despite a thorough search by a dedicated detective, Daniel Armah.

So Darko, his disabled brother and his volatile father were left alone. Fortunately for Darko he found a mentor and father figure in Detective Armah. As a result of their relationship, Darko decided that he wanted to be a detective, too. He never wavered from his goal and, as the events of this novel begin, Darko is a successful Detective Inspector for Accra CID with a wife and young son.

When a young woman's body is found in the forest east of Ketanu, assistance is requested from Accra and Darko is assigned the case. He hasn't been back to Ketanu since before his mother disappeared. When he arrives, he finds himself stepping on the toes of the local police chief, Inspector Fiti, who was not the one to request outside help. There are several possible suspects but Fiti is focused on the last person who was seen with the young woman.

Grace Mensah was a promising medical student who was trying to educate people in the small villages of the threat of AIDS and HIV. She made some enemies, among them a local traditional priest, Togbe Adzima. She was also seen talking to the local traditional healer, Isaac Kuto. But the last person she was seen with was Samuel Boateng, a young man who was enamoured of Grace. She was not interested in him, though, and Fiti's theory is that Samuel killed her when she rejected him.

Since Fiti seems focused on only one suspect, Darko begins to dig into the lives of the others, looking for a motive for murder. He is anxious to solve the mystery and return home as soon as possible, his wife and son need him there. But he is soon embroiled in the swirling tentacles of the case and can't help but become involved in a tug of war between traditional ways and the modern world. Luckily, he has a secret weapon that helps him when he is interrogating a suspect or witness:

"Darko felt the silken quality and the musical lilt of Auntie's voice. He had always had a peculiarly heightened sensitivity to speech. Not only did he hear it but he often perceived it as if physically touching it. He had on occasion told Cairo or Mama that he could feel 'bumps' in a person's voice, or that it was prickly or wet. They were mystified by this, but Darko could not explain it any better than he could describe the process of sight or smell."

He can hear indications in speech that others would miss, like when someone is lying. The phrases that the author uses when describing how Darko hears people's voices are utterly fascinating and evocative and were one of my favorite things about this wonderful novel.

Wife of the Gods brings Ghana alive for the reader, the old world courtesy of the people, the vast differences of the urban and rural areas, and the difficulties of integrating the traditional ways into the modern world. It is a fascinating mystery, too, I enjoyed it so much and I recommend it! Can't wait for the next book to find out what happens to Darko in his professional and personal life.

Wife of the Gods is published by Random House. ISBN 978-1-4000-6759-6.
I received this book as part of a TLC Book Tour. Click here for a complete list of all the tour stops. Please visit Kwei Quartey's wonderful website for lots of information about the book, his blog, updates and more!


Andrea said...

That sounds very interesting.

Laughing Stars said...

This is on my TBR list. You've piqued my interest even more. :-)

bermudaonion said...

I love mysteries and books set in other cultures, so I think this book looks great! I enjoyed your review.

Bingo said...

Carey, Please come by BOOKIN' WITH BINGO as I have an award for you. Thank you!

trish said...

The more I read about this book the more I'm intrigued! Thanks for such a thoughful review, Carey!

Zibilee said...

Great review! I would really like to read this book, and have been following the tour stops. It seems like the kind of book I would really enjoy and it's cool to know the author is working on a second book as well.

M. said...

This book sounds wonderful. I love the unusual cover.

Park Avenue Princess said...

I loved this book! And I'm so glad I found your blog through Bookin' With Bingo!

Feel Free to stop by mine if you'd like...I'm holding TWENTY Giveaways and YOU could win a bookshelf!!

XoXo Amy Park-Avenue Princess

Jennifer said...

This definitely sounds like the sort of novel I would enjoy. I am adding it to my list. Thanks.

S. Krishna said...

This sounds great, especially because I want to read more books about Africa!

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New Hampshire, United States
Bibliophile, Anglophile, Traveller... I have been an avid reader all of my life, since I took the Dr. Seuss Dictionary away from my Mom when I was less than a year old because I wanted to read it myself. In college, where I earned my degree in English Literature, I was often asked "What are you going to do with it?" Now I finally have the answer to that question!!! Being employed as a Flight Attendant for twenty years has given me a lot of life experience and, better still, a lot of time to read. I love to travel for fun, too.