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BOOK REVIEW: WIFE OF THE GODS
BY KWEI QUARTEY
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What a delightful debut novel! Gladys Mensah is discovered by a trokosi wife in the woods between two towns, Ketanu and Bedome, near Accra, Ghana. Gladys has been brutally murdered and there are suspects galore and one very human police inspector, Darko Dawson.
Gladys worked for an AIDS relief and information organization. She butted heads with the local fetish priest who practiced the old tradition of obtaining child brides as atonement for the girls’ families’ sins. These young virgins were known as trokosi or wives of the gods. They tended to the priest’s needs, in this case named Togbe Adzima, and thus stopped the gods’ displeasure of their families. Gladys found out a wife contracted AIDS and died so she tried to warn them of the dangers of this practice. Mensah had befriended a troubled teenager, Samuel Boateng, and the local herbalist, Isaac Kutu. Samuel became smitten and would not leave her alone and Isac feared sh would steal his remedies and sell them to the outer world.
Darko Dawson “volunteered” to solve this murder and must fight his own demons and bad habits to do so. He had not been to this region in twenty-five years when his mother disappeared after visiting her sister, Auntie Oswego. Dawson is the best detective for this job despite his tendency to get physically violent with anyone, including the local police chief but his sense of justice and compassion never leave him. He eventually solves this crime and the disappearance of his mother.
Dr. Quartey has created a rich world filled with “real” characters and will be a joy to read by mystery buffs and others who want a glimpse of Ghanian life, mixed as it is with old and new customs.
REVIEWED BY MARY Z
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WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, MARY Z
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