If his fourth case (Gold of Our Fathers, 2016) took him far from his base in Accra, Chief Inspector Darko Dawson’s fifth strikes entirely too close to home.
A year after accountant Katherine Yeboah’s storybook marriage to rising attorney Solomon Vanderpuye, the magic is gone with a vengeance. Katherine’s inability to get pregnant despite her bridegroom’s undisputed virility has turned her husband’s class-conscious mother, Maude, and his equally sniffy sister, Georgina, against her. Months of counseling sessions with Clem Howard-Mills, the millionaire bishop who married the unhappy couple, have gone nowhere, and Solomon, echoing his mother’s accusations that Kate is a witch, demands that she leave the house he’s surreptitiously retitled in his name alone. James Bentsi-Enchill, the divorce lawyer Kate’s mother urges her to consult, is an old flame of Kate’s who’s divorced himself. Can things get any worse? Absolutely. The night before Kate’s due to move out, she’s savagely attacked by a killer who also murders houseman Gabriel Saleh for good measure. The events leading up to the massacre are described with such harrowing precision that Darko’s investigation would be utterly overshadowed if he weren’t Kate’s brother-in-law, a sorely vexed cop whose every question seems to invite another prevarication or false alibi and whose every move threatens to antagonize another member of his extended family—except of course for his father, Jacob, who’s too sadly demented to notice or care what’s going on. The only bright spot, it seems, is Lance Cpl. Mabel Kusi, the new transfer Darko’s breaking in, who’ll take center stage at the finale.
The most conventional of the Ghanaian Chief Inspector’s five mysteries but the most personally shocking in every imaginable way for the hard-pressed hero.