Wife of the Gods is a pretty neat little mystery novel set in present-day Ghana, where Western culture is starting to move in on traditional ways. When a woman in a remote village is found dead in the woods, a detective from Accra ends up being called in (for various reasons) to take care of the investigation. Conveniently, the detective, Darko Dawson, has been meaning to head to this village anyway, to find out what happened to his mother when she disappeared more than 20 years ago. Dawson’s priority is the newly dead woman, of course, but it soon turns out that the cases are connected and Dawson is able to solve them both in one go.
But this novel is more than just a mystery. It also gives a critical look at the aforementioned traditional ways and how they can continue under Western influence. In particular, Quartey takes on the concept of trokosi, which he translates as “wife of the gods” and which is the practice of a fetish priest helping a family to get out from under a curse by taking a young daughter from the family as his wife. There is also friction between traditional and Western medicine in both Dawson’s life and the dead woman’s, and some talk about the roles of women in the culture.
I’m not really well-versed in such discussions/arguments, but I felt like I understood all sides a little more after reading this book. I highly recommend it as a quick but very interesting read.
Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.