Book 25: Quartey, Wife of the Gods

n296702 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 became real places to me with real people instead of an unknowable, unimaginable place.

I’d go so far as to say that alone is a reason to read this book: the chance to see out of eyes completely different from my own without any mystical bullshit, stereotypes, and a considerable dose of humor.

Beyond that, it’s an interesting story. I’d figured out the killer well in advance, from little insights buried here and there, and because of how the story wove together with the past, but I think that was the author’s intention. It’s not supposed to be a surprise, really, whodunnit, although there’s a good solid investigation of the possible suspects from Dawson’s POV. From the reader’s, it’s more of a whydunnit.

Quartey does a good job playing with the trope of books and covers, while providing entirely plausible motives. Yet, in the end, when the mystery’s solved, the book is more about the detective than the victim or the killer. His flaws are manifest and manifold. He’s a happily married men, but spends a fair amount of time ogling other women. I should find that offensive, maybe, but I find it simply true to character. Instead of pretending people in love are saintly, the author lets him be real, and I like the author much better for it.

My thoughts on this book feel discombobulated. I find, as I try to write this, that I have less positive things to say about it than I should for how much I enjoyed it. It’s a case where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. And whatever I have to say about it, I’ll definitely be picking up another book by the author to give Kwei and Dawson another few hours of my time.