alisa alering

Writer of fantasy and other fictions

Wife of the Gods, by Kwei Quartey (Color Me Brown challenge)


map-ghanaWife of the Gods is set in Ghana. For those of you who don’t know, Ghana is a coastal country in West Africa. The President visited there recently.

Detective Darko Dawson lives in the capital city, Accra, but is assigned to the murder of a young health worker in the small town of Ketanu because someone there doesn’t trust the local police force. Dawson speaks the local language, and his Aunt Osewa lives in a nearby village. Twenty-five years ago, Darko’s own mother journeyed to the same village to visit her sister, and  never returned.

Various suspects–the faith healer, the AIDS activist, the local priest–represent a conflict between traditional and modern ideas. Darko himself is disgusted with the priest who keeps young girls in concubinage as ‘wives of the gods’ but cannot help but feel that he himself may be have been cursed.

The mystery is competent, but Quartey shines at showing-off modern-day Ghana, vivid and alive. It is classic country-as-character and it is well done. Quartey, who was born and schooled in Accra, and has since lived in the US for many years has both an insider’s and an outsider’s perspective, which is wonderful for making a reader feel like the aforesaid insider.

He contrasts the speeding  capital with the more traditional village life, but remarks on how Ketanu has sprawled and the forest has shrunk in the years since his last visit. He shows the tension between supernatural/religious belief and medical/technical knowledge without denying the value of the superstition. He describes the people, the public and private lives, and the culture of the country, for which he clearly has great affection and understanding.

For more contrasts, check out Quartey’s blog that reports on his research trip to Ghana. He has lots of great pix, like the pair below.


Recommended readings:

Aya of Yop City – Marguerite Abouet

The Silence of the Rain – Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza

The next Inspector Dawson mystery – Kwei Quartey

(Color Me Brown is an August challenge by Color Online)

Author: Alisa Alering

I write stories. I read stories.

7 thoughts on “Wife of the Gods, by Kwei Quartey (Color Me Brown challenge)

  1. Dear Alisa Alering

    Thanks so much for a really wonderful review of my novel, not to mention the clever blog with great links and even a terrific little map to show where Ghana is. Nice work.

    • Wow! I’m so flattered – I’ve never had an author stop by before.

      I really did enjoy WOTG; it made me put Ghana on the list of countries I would like to visit some day. I hope your current writing is going well, because I am really looking forward to reading about Detective Dawson’s next adventure. Thank you for telling me a story.

  2. Alisa,

    Thanks so much for the review and posting a link for the challenge. I’m off to see if I can get this book.

  3. I am looking forward to reading this book.

  4. Alisa, how interesting that just earlier today before dashing out to spend some time with a friend I had not seen in years I had poked around on blogs to find anything about Ghana…yep, that’s right. And found this posting. I was recently on a flight with four young American high school students going to Ghana for their senior year as exchange students. It peaked my interest after listening to their discussions among themselves (given I was seated in the midst of them, couldn’t help but hear it as I am not toally deaf yet at the old age of 61). Thanks for this review, I look forward to reading the book! And then I got in from the long, late lunch and saw you had been to Rasco from RIF…..something in the air between us!

  5. Wife of the Gods sounds wonderful.

  6. Pingback: Reviews…reviews… | Kwei Quartey

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