Life is now getting a little better for Christine, the wife
of Chief Superintendent Darko Dawson of the Criminal
Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service.
Darko has more time now to help with their two sons, Sly
and Hosiah, as his work is more likely to let him come home
when not working, despite the fact that he has to spend much
of his spare time caring for his father who has Alzheimer's
Still, Christine has her share of worries and right now, she
is very concerned about her favorite cousin Kate. Katherine
Yeboah Vanderpuye is having her share of problems in her
marriage and now wants to divorce her husband Solomon.
Christine has driven to Kate's gated and expensive house to
help her move, but why are all the police and neighbors
here? What has happened?
In this fifth mystery story involving Darko Dawson, author
Kwei Quartey instantly pulls you into a glitzy high fashion
wedding in Accra, the capital of Ghana, complete with a
beautiful bride and a handsome groom who also is rich and
has a great job as an attorney. Their future together
promises to be happy, despite the snootiness of her
mother-in-law and the sister of the groom. Yet when the
usual "after love and marriage, comes the baby carriage"
didn't happen, gossip and nastiness starts and escalates
right up to Kate's husband and his sister accusing Kate, a
professional accountant, of witchcraft. But now, it seems
that Kate's gatekeeper Gabriel been murdered the night
before Kate is to leave her home and divorce Solomon. Who
could have committed this very vicious crime?
With its rich and colorful dialogue, strong sense of place
and fast-changing plot development, DEATH BY HIS GRACE
should appeal to readers of all genders, whether mystery or
police procedural fans or not. Having read some of the other
books in this series, I will also vouch that long-standing
fans of Quartey will be thrilled by this compelling new
mystery. New fans can still definitely enjoy DEATH BY HIS
GRACE as a standalone mystery and then will want to read
some of the previous stories about detective Darko Dawson.
He is a complex character who is compassionate and
principled, yet with his own small self-justified
indulgences and love for his native food.
With Quartey's family history of having a black American
and a Ghanaian father as well being a practicing medical
doctor, the author certainly knows how to convey that
special and authentic spirit of Ghana and its people that
make his books so compelling. His descriptions of secondary
characters, such as Clem Howard, the Bishop, and Lance
Corporal Mabel Kusi, his new trainee detective, and the
reactions of others to them are so vivid it makes them
instantly alive in the mind's eye.
Equally well, Quartey poignantly and with humor points out
the dark undercurrents that affect people in Ghana. He
highlights issues of social justice in his books and DEATH
BY HIS GRACE is no exception. In this mystery. Quartey
focuses on how religion, particularly traditional beliefs
and the impact of the mega Pentecostal churches, influences
the people as well as the systems in which they intertwine
in Ghana. I fully appreciate how he skillfully makes this
information part of the plot in DEATH BY HIS GRACE.
If you are a reader who likes to figure out the WHODONEIT,
there are lots of good possibilities for you and Darko. As
they say, the devil is in the details as alibis don't
always add up. So, check out DEATH BY HIS GRACE for a
totally enthralling reading experience! You will be glad
you did! Enjoy!
Accra, Ghana: Katherine Yeboah’s marriage to Solomon
Vanderpuye is all the talk of Accra high society. But
when it becomes apparent that Katherine is infertile,
Solomon’s extended family accuses her of being a witch,
hounding her until the relationship is so soured Solomon
feels compelled to order Katherine out of the house they
shared. Alone on her last night there, Katherine is
brutally murdered by an intruder.
Chief Inspector Darko Dawson of the Ghanaian federal
police has personal as well as professional reasons to
find the killer fast: Katherine was the first cousin of
his wife, Christine, who is devastated by the tragedy. As
Darko investigates, he discovers that many people close
to Katherine had powerful motives to kill her, including:
Solomon, her husband; James Bentsi-Enchill, her lawyer
and ex-lover; and her filthy rich pastor, Bishop Clem
Howard-Mills. In order to expose the truth, Darko must
confront the pivotal role religion plays in Ghana—and
wrestle with his old demons the investigation stirs up.
K AT H E R I N E W O U L D N E V E R F O R G E T the
day she married
Solomon. The wedding was immense, glorious, and the talk of
Accra. Solomon’s father, Ezekiel Vanderpuye, a wealthy ex-
member of parliament, spared no expense. Clem Howard-Mills,
one of Ghana’s most prominent bishops, officiated the service at
the Power of God Ministry Church in La Paz on the outskirts of
Four hundred guests flocked to Unique Floral Palace for
the reception. The enormous space dazzled in white and gold,
with Queen Anne’s lace, white calla lilies, and pink gardenias
decorating the guests’ tables. Lights cascaded from ceiling to
floor, sparkling like a South African diamond.
Caterers in crisp white uniforms served up a large spread
of food, from palm nut soup to kung-pao chicken. Cham-
pagne, wine, beer, and hard liquor flowed while the DJ played
loud hip-life. Weddings and funerals—no difference: eat till
stuffed; imbibe till drunk. And the first commandment: thou
shalt not run out of food or drink, or you will tarnish your
Solomon and Katherine observed traditional Ghanaian
nuptial customs the day after. With gifts of alcohol and yards
of cloth, Solomon’s family paid an official visit to Katherine’s.
The elders on both sides poured libation and performed the
Katherine felt joy and pride whenever she looked at Solomon,
so slim and tall in a dark, embroidered smock. Already, she could
picture her future life with her husband and two or three kids
a happy home. Katherine wanted a little girl first. After that,
would be perfectly happy with either gender.
For a moment, Katherine watched her parents, Nana and
Ransford. She could tell how elated they were. Both of them
liked Solomon and admired his intelligence and educational
accomplishments. He was a young, up-and-coming lawyer. Eze-
kiel, Solomon’s father, was also pleased. Every so often, he
at Katherine and his eyes moistened behind his spectacles.
Solomon’s mother, Maude, was a different matter. She had
welcomed Katherine into her family with reluctance. Status
was critical to Maude. Vanderpuye, her husband’s name, had
been tied to the Ghanaian upper class for generations, since
the seventeenth century when Dutch colonists and indigenous
people produced mixed offspring. Katherine’s Yeboah family, on
the other hand, was of working class stock, and in Maude’s view,
fell below a certain “essential” threshold. But to Katherine, her
mother-in-law’s preoccupation with caste was a pointless con-
Always at Maude’s right hand was her daughter, Georgina. She
looked and behaved like her mother—down almost to the ges-
ture—and sided with Maude over everything. The two women
felt Solomon had rushed into marriage. He had met Katherine
a few months before he went off to the University of Virginia to
study Business Administration. While away from Ghana, Solo-
mon kept in touch with Katherine by phone, WhatsApp, and
Skype. They were in love. Some nights Katherine would stay up
until three or four in the morning talking to Solomon. Not long
after his return to Ghana, he proposed to Katherine. Thrilled,
Maude and Georgina had been dead set against Solomon’s
engagement to Katherine, but Ezekiel had prevailed over his wife
and daughter. He told them Solomon had every right to marry
the woman he loved.
In the midst of the laughter, drinking, and dancing of the
after-wedding party, Katherine stole a glance at her mother-in-
law. Maude’s mouth was hard, her jaw set, and her eyes cold.