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Wife of the Gods

(Darko Dawson #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  2,693 ratings  ·  549 reviews
Introducing Detective Inspector Darko Dawson: dedicated family man, rebel in the office, ace in the field—and one of the most appealing sleuths to come along in years. When we first meet Dawson, he’s been ordered by his cantankerous boss to leave behind his loving wife and young son in Ghana’s capital city to lead a murder investigation: In a shady grove outside the small ...more
Hardcover, 317 pages
Published July 14th 2009 by Random House
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Average rating 3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,693 ratings  ·  549 reviews

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Sep 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, mysteries, 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
Cindy Burnett
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am always looking for a new mystery series to start and recently took the recommendation of Michael Sears, one half of the writing duo Michael Stanley, and tried the Detective Dawson series by Kwei Quartey. Set in Ghana, the series focuses on the local culture, cuisine, customs, and everyday issues facing Ghanians today while also tackling clever and original crimes and mysteries that contain some elements that are universal and other aspects that are uniquely relevant to Ghana. Wife of the Go ...more
This police detective-led mystery set in Ghana is enjoyable. Darko Dawson is sent to a village to investigate the death of a young medical student. He's particular in his methods, has a known anger problem, and a lingering grief over the unexplained disappearance of his mother when he was a boy. Darko's investigation leads to a few unpleasant people, and while they have great motives, Darko remains stumped and frustrated with the way the case progresses. The resolution finally lays one of Darko' ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
After finishing another book set in Ghana, Homegoing, I thought I should go back to this book. I first started it back in July 2015, when I included it in a pile of books I was "speed dating." It passed the 50 page test and went back on the shelf until now. I'm still working my way through reading a book from every country, and now Ghana is covered!

This is a solid crime novel featuring Darko Dawson, who is called in from Accra to help with an investigation of the murder of an AIDS relief worker.
switterbug (Betsey)
Feb 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Sep 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Book Concierge
Digital audiobook performed by Simon Prebble.

First in a series featuring Detective Inspector Darko Dawson of Accra, Ghana. Dawson is a dedicated family man with a loving wife and a charming, if medically fragile, young son. He’s also somewhat of a rebel in the police force and frequently at odds with his cantankerous boss. He’s not happy about his new assignment in remote area of Ghana; a young woman – a promising medical student and AIDS worker – has been found dead in a jungle area near the sm
Friederike Knabe
Feb 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: africa, african-lit
"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
Aug 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing

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
Aug 25, 2011 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
Mocha Girl
Oct 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
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
Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Book #1 set in Ghana featuring D.I. Darko Dawson. D.I. Dawson is asked to help investigate the murder of Gladys Mensah, a promising medical student working in AIDS education in the bush villages. Dawson is asked to go to the village of Ketanu, his home village for his mother who disappeared from there while visiting family. Darko has never gone back since her disappearance so he has more to deal with than just a murder investigation.

A good beginning to a series new to me.
Sep 13, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a fairly traditional detective novel in the style of Agatha Christi. The case is solved by observation and witness interviews, not by the use of any police forensics. The characterization and the prose are rather clichéd. It was a quick read that did not require too much concentration. But, the setting is what hooked me and has me considering more books in this series. I can’t think of another book I have read that is set in Ghana with the insider eye of an author who is a native.
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Middle of the road,not awful,not very good.
Predictable;motive and culprit evident pretty soon.
The title is just eye catching,as it has nothing to do with the main plot.
Jun 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
I don't normally review my Book Club books on here until after our discussion, but I will be away from the meeting this month, so thought I'd just go ahead and have my say now. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Our club members are AVID "series" readers and this category for our book club challenge was "the first in a series by a person of colour". We've read a few "series" books in the last few years and I'm not a big fan. Particularly when we read one book that some members insisted could be rea ...more
Jan 02, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Aug 15, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The viewpoint character detective is so out of control that he is unable to see the truth about the case. If he weren't blinded by his anger and biases, he could have solved the case a great deal sooner. Although he's aware that he's out of control, he makes no attempt to change his behavior. I find this unsympathetic and I consider him a bad cop. It's true that he's not the only bad cop depicted, but I don't want to read a viewpoint character of this type.

Solid start to the series - those who can't get into the Ladies Detective series as too ... quaint might find it easier to get into these stories.
Jun 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

1. A Ghanaian mystery! Yay!!
2. An extremely slow read.
3. Way too much fluff, but it was kinda interesting.
4. Predictable...except for that part. Yeah, didn't see that coming.
5. Darko Dawson is so blah, not appealing in anyway.
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was complaining about the #1 Ladies Detective Agency series in one of my reviews and someone recommended Wife of the Gods, so I decided to give it a try. Wife of the Gods turned out to be a satisfying murder mystery with a likable protagonist. I liked the main character's wife and son too. The book is no literary masterpiece. The writing gets the job done, but the actual turn of phrase is nothing spectacular. It was, also, a little predictable. There was, however, one plot twist near the end t ...more
Aug 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
What an awesome read. This book was a Who-Done-It, that takes place in Ghana. I was with detective Darkos Dawson, every step of the way, while he was trying to solve this case. I loved the story, even though, I am not a murder mystery fan. Suicide, Aids, Deception and Jealousy are a few of the themes in this book. If you read it, you won't be disappointed. I will definitely check out some more of this author's work.
I’ve been on an audiobook kick lately because my eyes have been giving me trouble. I needed something to listen to in a hurry, and none of the books I immediately recalled were available, but this one popped up on a list of highly rated audiobooks on hoopla. Simon Prebble narrates the book, and he does a fine job. I would have preferred an African/African origin narrator, but then again, the book didn’t have much in the way of Ghanaian dialect.

The mystery itself is okay. There are clear signs a
Crime Fiction in Ghana - from the Modern city of Accra to the bush town of his mother's family, Darko is hunting the murderer of AIDS-activist and doctor-to-be Grace.
It is an interesting setup and has the local spice of our detective and the murder victim (and the author quite clearly) exposing how blaming women for being witches is the easiest way to control them, and appeasing the gods for a (perceived) family wrongdoing or plain bad luck, can all be cured by marrying off a teenager to the vil
Oct 14, 2012 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
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is my first book from Kwei Quartey, and what a tremendous story! I solved this pretty early, but with all the twists and turns, I never knew if I was on the right track. It was a thrilling ride! I’d never heard of the Darko Dawson series until a recent scroll through Goodreads. Seeing what others are reading is one of the things I enjoy about this platform. My friends have the best taste in books! Kwei Quartey is an excellent author and I’m so looking forward to reading more of his work! ** ...more
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Nitya Iyer
Jun 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a "Read Around the World" book a FB group decided on. I love a good mystery, and this didn't disappoint, except at the end when the killer confessed and said the victim's neck was soft. That's not really true, but for the sake of this novel, I had to suspend belief on that point.

I like DI Darko Dawson. Sure, he has flaws, but he really tried to do good and do right by the helpless.

Inspector Fiti, however... I loathed him and hoped he would just be jailed. He is bigoted, hateful, stupid,
Anna From Gustine
May 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
There's a lot of potential going for this book and I hope that it will be fulfilled as the series continues.

The main character is Darko Dawson, a police officer in Accra, Ghana. He is sent to a village to investigate the murder of a medical student volunteering as an AIDS educator. While there, he finds that the mystery overlaps with the disappearance of his mother many years ago from the same area.

What I liked the most was the immersion in the world. I know next to nothing about Ghana and I lea
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Kwei Quartey is a crime fiction writer and retired 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 sch

Other books in the series

Darko Dawson (5 books)
  • Children of the Street (Darko Dawson #2)
  • Murder at Cape Three Points (Darko Dawson #3)
  • Gold of Our Fathers (Darko Dawson #4)
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