DEATH BY HIS GRACE

By Kwei Quartey

 

Publisher: Soho Crime (August, 2017)
Format: Hardcover
Price: $26.95
ISBN: 978-1-61695-708-7

Kindle edition: $14.99

 

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Inspector Darko Dawson Mysteries (Book #5)

 

Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel
(December, 2017)

 

When Katherine Yeboah married Solomon Vanderpuye in a storybook wedding, she saw a bright future, a happy home with several adorable children. Solomon, an up-and-coming attorney in Accra, comes from a wealthy and socially prominent family. While her parents, Nana and Ransford, welcome Solomon to the family, Solomon’s mother Maude makes it clear that she looks down on Katherine and her working-class family.

When months go by with no sign of pregnancy, Maude and her daughter Georgina blame Katherine. They hound her in public, and accuse her of using witchcraft to deny Solomon an heir. Solomon, once so loving and devoted, turns on her too. Finally, the only way out is divorce.

Turns out there is another way out. On her last night in her marital home, Katherine is brutally murdered. Her parents, her friends and her cousin Christine Dawson are devastated and angry. Christine’s husband is Chief Inspector Darko Dawson of the Ghanaian Federal Police Force. They all plead with him to find Katherine’s killer, and he gives his all to do so. He, too, was fond of Kate.

There are many suspects, starting with her husband, his mother and sister. Some wonder if the relationship with her lawyer, her former sweetheart, is strictly professional. She had been seeing Bishop Clem Howard-Mills for marital counseling; even after the marriage broke up, she often visited him. Darko ponders the motive: was the murder about unrequited love, jealousy, money, or something else entirely?

This is the fifth book in the Darko Dawson investigation series. Darko is an appealing protagonist, flawed but honorable; he is a good cop, doing his best to see justice done in a system that is highly corrupt. The plot is tight, the mystery well-plotted. More than a police procedural, this is a story about families, both tightly-knit and highly dysfunctional, and about a cast system in flux, where the mores of the old and new clash with the changing times. It is also a love story to the author’s native country. The descriptions of the local food will make your mouth water. The characters are believable and relatable. In my opinion, however, the novel would have been richer if there were more details on the Ghanaian landscape. Recommended.


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