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.
Published by Random House in 2010, Wife of the Gods is a spellbinding mystery, set in Ghana and taking place within the vigorous capital of Accra and small town of Ketanu. Readers are introduced to the main character, Detective Darko Dawson, living contentedly in Accra as a Detective Inspector, when he is summoned to Ketanu to investigate the startling murder of a young village woman. The victim is Gladys Mensah, a promising medical student and AIDS activist, who is found murdered by a nearby village woman. The assignment is imperative and holds much significance for Detective Dawson, because the town of Ketanu is where his mother’s family originated and is where she is last seen alive. The hunt for the murderer will expose hidden truths concerning his mother, divulge the powerful impact of his role as a detective, and address several adverse cultural practices within the village.
Author Kwei Quartey earns a nod of admiration for his literary performance in Wife of the Gods. Quartey eloquently constructed a tale that exhibited authentic Ghanaian culture. Whether by describing various foods, languages, or customs, Quartey seemed to effortlessly familiarize the reader to numerous traditions. I found myself salivating as he described the preparation of plantains, garri (also known as tapioca) and fufu (pounded cassava and plantains). I was also keenly aware of myself becoming greatly appalled by the treatment of women living as Trokosi or “wife of the gods“, a practice where young virgin girls are offered as payment to a man for a misdeed done by a family member. Disturbingly, these girls usually serve against their will as slaves to the priests or elders of a traditional shrine.
Written with impeccable skill, Wife of the Gods is a superb book, guaranteed to intrigue and appease one‘s desire for a good read. I look forward to reading the next book in the Darko Dawson series, Children of the Street.