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Wife of the Gods (Darko Dawson #1)

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  1,042 ratings  ·  274 reviews
Detective Inspector Darko Dawson, a good family man and a remarkably intuitive sleuth, is sent to the village of Ketanu—the site of his mother's disappearance many years ago—to solve the murder of an accomplished young AIDS worker.

While battling his own anger issues and concerns for his ailing son, Darko explores the motivations and secrets of the residents of Ketanu. It...more
Audio CD, 8 pages
Published January 26th 2010 by Tantor Media (first published January 1st 2009)
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Friederike Knabe
"What if the truth is more terrible than the forest?"

Darko, the child is frightened as the mother disappears into nothing; Darko Dawson, the adult, has a recurring dream: his mother walks with him through the forest and urges him along... It is not any forest, but a forest he remembers from his childhood, near the village of Ketanu, the place where his mother disappeared all these years ago. A powerful beginning for Kwei Quartey's debut novel, "Wife of the Gods", no question. And the village and...more
Any attempts of becoming dissatisfied with this book will be close to impossible. For, Wife of the Gods is that impressive of a narrative. Consisting of suspense, mystery, and adventure, it is not surprising that Kwei Quartey gained noteworthy attention for this gripping novel.

Wife of the Gods is a spellbinding mystery, set in Ghana and taking place within the vigorous capitol of Accra and small town of Ketanu. Readers are introduced to the main character, Detective Darko Dawson, living contente...more
This is first in a series about Detective Darko Dawson of Accra in Ghana. I have wanted to read this book ever since I saw it in a bookstore a couple of years ago and I was thrilled to be able to dip into it when I came across the audio version this summer.

I don’t mind telling you that when I first listened to it, I was interrupted three-quarters of the way in and had to set the book aside. I didn’t really mind because midway through the novel I found myself wondering if I should trust Darko Da...more
Mocha Girl
Kwei Quartay's debut is an entertaining debut that not only focuses on Darko Dawson, the family man and the detective, but immerses the reader in Ghanaian culture and traditions, and introduces a cast of lively characters. The novel opens with the murder of a young AIDS prevention worker in the same remote region Darko's mother disappeared 25 years earlier while visiting her sister. He is assigned to support the local police because he speaks Ewe and dives into the case with a practiced, methodi...more
switterbug (Betsey)
The story of a West African detective in Ghana begins with a weak prologue--a nightmare squeezed from the pages of former dime-store books. The following (first) chapter opens with promise--a dead body. Then the author tries too hard to tell the story. That's the problem--too much telling and not enough showing. The sentences read like announcements or headlines and the prose is shopworn and musty, hauled from a high-school creative writing course. The author is also on an adverb and gerund fren...more
I liked this novel much better than another Ghaniain author's Tail of the Blue Bird. Darko Dawson is a police inspector in Accra, who is called to investigate the death of a young female AIDS worker in a village where his mother disappeared many years prior. The author sets up four possible suspects: a young boy, the high priest, the holistic medicine man, and the girl's boss, and does a respectable job integrating modern life with varioud tribal beliefs. There are some good underlying stories,...more
Joyce Lagow
An Early Reviewer book.[return][return]Quartey� s debut novel is set in modern Ghana, and features Inspector Detective Darko Dawson. Stationed in the capital, Accra, he nevertheless is assigned to lead the investigation into the murder of a young medical student, Gladys Mensah, in Ketanu, in the Volta Rivber region; Dawson has relatives in Ketanu, his Auntie Osewa and Uncle Kweku and speaks Ewe, the regional language. And additional connection is that his mother disappeared, never to be found, f...more

WIFE OF THE GODS is two stories. The first story begins with the discovery of the body of Gladys Mensah in the forest outside the town of Ketanu. Gladys is a medical student and a volunteer AIDS worker. Efia finds the body early one morning. “Efia was a trokosi, which meant she belonged to the gods.” In Efia’s life that means belonging to Togbe Adzima, the chief and the High Priest of the village. Eighteen years earlier, Efia’s uncle murdered a man and, although he is in prison, the family has b...more
First Sentence: The forest was black and Darko was afraid to enter.

DI Darko Dawson is ordered to investigate the murder of a young woman in Kentau, the town from which his mother disappeared many years before. Fighting an incompetent local policeman, superstition and a local priest to whom young women are given as trokosi or wives of the gods, Dawson sets about trying to solve both mysteries and prevent an innocent man from being hanged.

I very much enjoyed this book. On one hand, it is look and...more
A very interesting read, although not an especially puzzling mystery to people who read a lot of them. Written almost entirely in simple, declarative sentences (I'm not sure there's a complex sentence or a subjunctive in the entire book), it gives the illusion of being innocent and amiable--very reminiscent of Mma Ramotswe's adventures in Botswana. But this detective is a much more divided personality, and the crimes he must uncover involve some activities far darker than anything McCall Smith w...more
Interesting mystery set in Ghana that touches on polygamy, witchcraft, and western medicine.
Inspector Darko Dawson ability to speak Ewe gets him sent from Accra to his mother's hometown to investigate the murder of a medical student who was a volunteer AIDS educator. The case eventually turns out to involve his own personal mystery, the disappearance of his mother years before.

I liked Darko, despite his overfondness for smoking pot. He's devoted to his wife and son, and has a sense of justice. I...more
The author tried to put other characters to be a possible murderer of the young, 22, medical student Gladys Mensah. I am towards the last 100 pages and saying, come on, who dunnit! I have my suspensions.

What I enjoyed most was the author captured the essence of Ghana, their older customs and traditions, witchcraft/voodoo, and even those who practice things of today. The high priest/shine, Togbe Adzima, had many wives and get them when they are ripe (reached puberty). I didn't know this is still...more
Because he's the only available police investigator who can speak the local indigenous language, Detective Inspector Darko Dawson is sent out to the village of Ketanu to assist the inquiry into the death of a young medical student. (As it happens, it's the same village his mother--who mysteriously vanished when he was a young boy--grew up in, so this gives him a chance to reacquaint himself with relatives he hasn't seen in 25 years...) Dawson has to contend with a local police chief who resents...more
Jan 11, 2010 Julie rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Julie by: NPR Weekend Edition Sunday
Two and a half stars.

Because the author's own story is so compelling, I really wanted to like this book. But honestly, it fell flat for me. The writing is simplistic, the characters are less than 3-dimensional, and the story- as a mystery- is formulaic.

The potential is there- Quartey's female characters shine with life far beyond their male counterparts, who include Detective Inspector Darko Dawson, the protagonist of this intended series (of course, as a DI, it is de rigueur that he have a subs...more
Miss GP
Jul 18, 2009 Miss GP rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery lovers
Recommended to Miss GP by:
Every time I see this book mentioned, somewhere it says something about the No. 1 Ladies' Detective series. I'm completely at a loss as to why this is. The only things the books have in common is that they're mysteries, and they're set in Africa. In fact, I think it very unlikely that readers who like the Alexander McCall Smith series will find this novel enjoyable.

First, Wife of the Gods is a top-notch mystery. It completely holds ones attention, and will keep readers guessing the identity of t...more
Det. Darko Dawson of Ghana's CID travels to a rural village to investigate the murder of a young med student/AIDs education volunteer. The book has everything I look for in a mystery:richly drawn intriguing characters, a vivid cultural and physical background, and a mystery that keeps me guessing with classic red herrings, multiple suspects, good cops and bad (very bad) cops. Grittier than Alexander McCall Smith, but more focus on character development than on gore. I look forward to more from t...more
The setting in Ghana, both in the busy capital Accra and in the remote village, is fascinating and very well done. Inspector Darko Dawson is an interesting and imperfect policeman - devoted to his wife and their son (who has a serious heart problem), and to his disabled older brother, a little too fond of smoking marijuana but serious about his job.
He is sent to the remote village where his mother's sister lives to help solve the murder of a young female med student who was working with an NGO o...more
Very interesting and - for me - exotic setting (a village in Ghana), an interesting and quite different main character, a good, solid crime plot with a solution I didn't see coming too fast. Interesting culture, strange foreign rites... yes, this one was indeed quite different. I liked it, especially the exotic part of it, and might read more of this series.
Mary Lou
I read detective stories occasionally & was looking forward to this because of its setting in Ghana. It does not, however compare favorably with The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. Had I known that the "hero" has violent fits of rage during which he beats people to a pulp & which he can't remember afterwards, I would have lost all interest.
Kwei Quartey's Wife of the Gods showed up in my inbox, a recommendation from Amazon. Amazon loves my inbox, my VISA, my one-click. I have a problem, an addiction. See book, buy book. It's Pavlovian.

This time it worked out well for me, really well. Wife of the Gods turned out to be a real treat. The storytelling's a bit journeyman in places, a fair amount of tell not show, but the prose is evocative. I could feel and smell and taste places I'd never been. For the first time, Africa, Ghana, Accra...more
Gosh, there's great popular fiction coming out of Africa.
It was interesting to read the first Detective Inspector Darko Dawson after having read the third Darko Dawson mystery. Each one stands on its own, no need to read in order, but it did provide background and richness to the other book. Now I look forward to reading the middle mystery in the Detective Inspector Darko Dawson series!

It's a great read, well developed, Ghanian - West African - tradition in the context of the modern day country that Ghana is. Authentic in voice and detail, well writt...more
Laura Williams
I'm giving this audio book 4 stars. It really pulled me in and kept me guessing. I enjoyed the West African setting, which created some interesting problems when it came to the protagonist, Darko, trying to solve the murder of a young woman in a remote village. Not only does he have to interrogate his own suspects, he has to contend with local police corruption and age old customs involving fetish priests and their wives (a topic that I had previously know nothing about). There were a lot of pos...more
As a mystery this ranks with the best. Quartey does for Ghana what Mankell does for Sweden, and Quartey's Darko Dawson is every bit as good as Mamkell's Kurt Wallander. What Quartey lacks in character development, he makes up for in surprising twists and turns, some as a result of the culture and environment of Ghana.

A young woman is found dead, and Darko is summoned to travel to the town where she was found and help solve the crime. It happens to be the same place where his mother disappeared...more
Pretty good for a first novel and a first novel in a series.
Kara Freedman
I started reading Wife of the Gods tentatively because I don't usually read mystery novels, but I loved this book. I picked it because it's set in Ghana (a country I'll be going to soon) and not only was it a well-written murder mystery but it portrayed a lot of aspects of Ghanaian culture. I particularly liked the contrasts that Quartey reveals between the detective from Accra - a city man, supposedly educated and progressive - and some of the "bush" detectives, whose policing methods are diffe...more
This is first in a series about Detective Darko Dawson of Accra in Ghana. I have wanted to read this book ever since I saw it in a bookstore a couple of years ago and I was thrilled to be able to dip into it when I came across the audio version this summer.

I don’t mind telling you that when I first listened to it, I was interrupted three-quarters of the way in and had to set the book aside. I didn’t really mind because midway through the novel I found myself wondering if I should trust Darko Da...more
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Dec 31, 2011 Linden rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Linden by: A book review

Wife of the Gods, a first novel by Kwei Quartey, tells the story of Grace Mensah, a medical student who is murdered in the town of Bedome, in Ghana. Its Ghanaian culture proved every bit as interesting as the untangling of who might have killed her, and why.

This was the first iBook I read which may have influenced my take on the story. The convenience of reading an illuminated page while preparing to sleep was and is certainly a plus. I found it particularly interesting because of the ability to...more
Having been challenged to question whether #1 Ladies Detective Agency could be even remotely authentic, I went searching for more African detective fiction and found Detective Inspector Darko Dawson. You have to question a little whether Quartey's Ghana could be considered any more authentic than McCall Smith's Botswana because both have left their former homes there and both are educated Westerners writing for the English-language market. (knowing that Quartey is/was a doctor working in Montebe...more
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Kwei Quartey is a crime fiction writer and physician living in Pasadena, California. Having practiced medicine for more than 20 years while simultaneously working as a writer, he has attained noteworthy achievements in both fields. Dr. Quartey balances the two professions by dedicating the early morning hours to writing before beginning a day in his clinic.

Kwei Quartey attended medical school at H...more
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