Wife of the Gods by Kwei Quartey

February 21, 2020 at 4:03 pm (Book review, books, Mystery fiction)

Having greatly enjoyed Kwei Quartey’s The Missing American, a standalone novel, I decided to read Quartey’s Darko series. First up is Wife of the Gods. It’s a delight! Darko is an appealing protagonist, a policeman working is way up in the force. He has to work to control a quick temper; moreover, his love of marijuana must be indulged in secret. His family, consisting of wife Christine and much loved six-year-old son Hosiah, helps keep him on the  straight and narrow.

Several mysteries unfold in tandem in Wife of the Gods. The plotting is well done and easy to follow, but the real star of the show once again is the country of Ghana. An important element of the story is a rather disturbing custom called Trokosi.  Kwei Quartey observes that “Traditionalists, such as the Afrikania organization in Accra, are in favor of the tradition and deny that slavery is involved.” Well, maybe so, but the way it’s depicted in this novel, Trokosi makes it possible for a man to have numerous wives and to treat them like – well, slaves. And so although the title, Wife of the Gods, would seem to refer to an aspirational state, the reality is decidedly more sinister.

So this is a negative aspect of Ghanaian society and the author is honest in depicting it. But at the same time, there is much about the country that is appealing – in particular, the beauty of the countryside and the kindness and generosity of its people.

In the matter of religion, Ghana is approximately seventy per cent Christian (including a variety of denominations); although there are a number of dialects spoken, the official language is English. (verified by the CIA World Fact Book). These facts apparently give rise to the quirky and rather endearing custom of commercial establishments being named ‘Nothing But Prayer Electrical Goods,’ the “God Is Great Hair Clinic,’ and the ‘Jesus Is Lord Chop House.’ (This immediately put me in mind of Alexander McCall Smith’s No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series set in Botswana, in which Mma Makutsi’s husband is the proud proprietor of the ‘Double Comfort Furniture Shop.’)

I look forward to getting the next Darko Dawson book, Children of the Street.

 

2 Comments

  1. kellereads said,

    Love Kwei and his books!

  2. Angie Boyter said,

    I am a little over a third of the way through this book, and so far I would call it a nice story about family and customs in Ghana with the murder investigation definitely taking a back seat to that subject. Not what I was really looking for.

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