Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Wife of the Gods [With Earbuds]” as Want to Read:
Wife of the Gods [With Earbuds]
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Wife of the Gods [With Earbuds] (Darko Dawson #1)

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,503 Ratings  ·  333 Reviews
For fans of Alexander McCall Smith, a debut mystery set in West Africa that introduces a marvelous detective and a culturally rich community

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.

Audio, 0 pages
Published June 1st 2010 by Tantor Audio (first published July 14th 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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
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
Sep 04, 2012 Trish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, fiction, audio
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
Mocha Girl
Oct 11, 2009 Mocha Girl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 28, 2011 Babydoll rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 10, 2010 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
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
Joyce Lagow
Apr 20, 2010 Joyce Lagow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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, fr ...more
Jan 02, 2010 Jon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nitya Sivasubramanian
Nov 06, 2015 Nitya Sivasubramanian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4star
Absolutely loved this book! Steering clear of the squee-ness of Precious Ramotswe, this author manages weave an intriguing murder mystery that somehow feels like authentic Ghana. Adding this layer of an unfamiliar environment to an otherwise fairly typical detective story elevates it to the level of memorable and has left me thirsting for more from this author.
Mary Helene
Nov 26, 2014 Mary Helene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
This brought back such vivid memories of Ghana! Well told, well told and so accurately reflecting the Ghana I knew but with cell phones added.
I attended one fetish priest ceremony and I was seriously impressed with its efficacy. A woman who had just given birth to her 3rd child didn’t want to take care of it. It was obvious she must be possessed by an evil spirit, so the village shut down business as usual, took care of her children, put her in a special hut with special food and had a huge banq
Aug 28, 2015 Beverly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wife of the Gods by Kwei Quartey is an impressive debut, a murder mystery set in modern Ghana. The reader quickly learns the mystery is who killed Gladys, a promising medical student, as she was on her way home to Ketanu, a small village in the Volta region. Efia, a wife of the Gods, is the one who stumbles across Gladys’ body, in a forest that separates two villages. As in any small village, the news spreads quickly and everyone has an opinion on who committed the murder. But another mystery al ...more
Nov 16, 2012 Adrienna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jul 18, 2009 PDXReader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery lovers
Recommended to PDXReader 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
In his first novel, Wife of the Gods, Kwei Quartey introduces us to an intriguing lead character, an exotic setting, and a story that takes some compelling twists and turns along the way. When a young female medical student is murdered in the forest between two small villages in the Volta Region of Ghana, big-city detective Darko Dawson is sent to take over the investigation from the tiny local police force. Dawson knows the native language and has a history with the villages; his mother came fr ...more
Apr 15, 2016 Deera rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: international
Bustle Reads Book About an Indigenous Culture, maybe.

I really need to go find something light to read. So much RAGE; that's all I felt while reading this novel. Hurt people hurting other people. Crazy people hurting people. Sick people hurting people.

The prose was beautiful. I listened on audio and the narrator left a little to be desired, but the story was so good I couldn't stop. I couldn't believe who the killer was in the end.

I need to go have a drink now.
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
Found this on a list of books about Ghana, looking to learn a little about Ghana. Turns out it's a completely ordinary murder mystery - set in Ghana. Here's an ordinary three stars for an ordinary book.
Kelsey Hanson
Dec 12, 2015 Kelsey Hanson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fiction
It's amazing how often I read books about warm exotic locations during the month of January (I live in Wisconsin. It's cold!). This story takes place in Ghana and I was pretty excited about that. This book starts out a bit slow, but gradually picks up. It gives a very realistic look at the AIDS crisis in Africa and the many issues that stand in the way of AIDS workers including culture and tradition as well as financial issues. The detective was hard-boiled but there are enough moments of levity ...more
Jul 30, 2009 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa, fun-mysteries
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
I gave the book the extra star because of local color. I learned some about Ghana from reading this mystery, and it tied in with a couple of other books I read recently which take place in Africa: Say You're One of Them and The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. (I love the street English some of the characters speak in, which was also spoken in Say You're One of Them.)

The plot was OK, and the characters mildly interesting, but I mostly liked the way the main character describes people's voices, which
Wally Wood
Mar 04, 2016 Wally Wood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kwei Quartey is an American physician whose father was Ghanaian and his mother black American. He was born in Accra and spent his childhood in Ghana. He attended medical school at Howard University in Washington, DC, currently runs a wound care clinic in Pasadena, CA. He says that he was "your classic nerdy kid reading on a Saturday instead of our playing soccer." And, "Reading as voraciously as I did inspired me to write my own 'novels' when I was around eight to ten years old." He now writes v ...more
Jan 19, 2016 Olivermagnus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Detective Inspector Darko Dawson is sent from the Ghanaian capital, Accra, to the small town of Ketanu to investigate the murder of a young medical student, Gladys Mensah, who was volunteering for an AIDS outreach program in the area. The local inspector believes it to be an open-and-shut case and arrests a suspect. Dawson doesn 19t follow the same line of thought, and would rather pursue a different direction to find the actual killer. Running parallel to the murder investigation of Gladys is t ...more
Apr 19, 2014 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Connie Regan
Jan 15, 2015 Connie Regan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inspector Darko Dawson is an intriguing character, boldly smokes marijuana because it relaxes him and he thinks the law against it is stupid. He and his wife are trying to save enough money for heart surgery for their son. A promising medical student has been murdered in the small town of Ketanu and Dawson is assigned to sort through the evidence. Dawson is a detective who is down to earth and believable who is up against superstitions, age old customs and long buried family secrets.
Mar 11, 2015 Nakia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Would rather give it 3.5 stars.
"At one point, I didnt think I would enjoy this story, but I was eventually so invested in the characters and their secrets and customs and affairs, I felt like I was reading a script for an original Lifetime movie. The suspects were plenty, the drama was high, and just when you think Darko has the culprit figured out…NOPE!!..." (full review at
Dec 07, 2014 Ariel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, mystery
"What if the truth is more terrible than the forest?" Darko Dawson is an up-and-coming police detective in Accra, the capital of Ghana. He has a great job, a family he loves, and yet he carries a deep sorrow from the disappearance of his mother in his childhood when she was returning from a visit to her hometown Ketanu, a town set on the edge of the great forest.

When a young medical student is found dead in that same town of Ketanu and an influential official presses for a big-city detective to
Nov 20, 2014 Holly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book started off a bit slow. It is the story of a young woman, a medical student trying to spread AIDS awareness in a small village in Ghana, who is murdered and found by one of the wives of a local priest. There are plenty of suspects, since the young woman, Gladys Mensah, was trying to bring change to the village that not everyone is happy about. Gladys is bringing new medical knowledge, which doesn't please the local healer, and is trying to convince the priest's wives that they should le ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Second Death Of Goodluck Tinubu (Detective Kubu, #2)
  • A Beautiful Place to Die (Detective Emmanuel Cooper, #1)
  • A Good Fall
  • Oil on Water
  • Cloth Girl
  • The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives
  • The Witch Doctor's Wife (Amanda Brown #1)
  • Blood Safari
  • A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder (Inspector Singh Investigates #1)
  • Blanche Cleans Up
  • Abyssinian Chronicles
  • Reading the Ceiling
  • Moonlight Downs (Emily Tempest, #1)
  • The Case of the Missing Servant (Vish Puri, #1)
  • Houseboy
  • Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria
  • On Black Sisters Street
  • Powder Necklace: A Novel

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 about Kwei Quartey...

Other Books in the Series

Darko Dawson (4 books)
  • Children of the Street (Darko Dawson #2)
  • Murder at Cape Three Points (Darko Dawson #3)
  • Gold of Our Fathers (Darko Dawson #4)

Share This Book