Darko Dawson (Murder at Cape Three Points, 2014, etc.) is seconded to Obuasi, far from his home base in Accra, just in time to catch a particularly brutal murder.
Dawson should know better than to celebrate his recent promotion to Chief Inspector, which turns out to be just one more reason he’d be the perfect person to send to Ghana’s Ashanti region when the ailing local CID chief dies. Scarcely has he formed his first impressions of his inefficient and insubordinate constables and Ata Longdon, his bullying commander, than word comes that mineworker Kudzo Gablah and his crew have discovered the body of Bao Liu, their exacting boss, buried in one of the mines they’re working. Bao’s brother, Wei Liu, who moves and washes the corpse, ostensibly to avoid shocking new widow Lian Liu, is the obvious suspect, but once he proves an alibi, Dawson must look elsewhere. He finds a powerful motive in Bao’s unrequited flirtation with Comfort, the girlfriend of neighboring farmer Amos Okoh, whose brother, Yaw Okoh, swore vengeance after a quarrel between Amos and Bao left the former dead and the latter unpunished. Despite procuring a confession to Bao’s murder, Dawson is still dissatisfied. That’s just as well, because a Ghanaian task force decides that these private crimes are less important than the corruption introduced to the region by the gold mines illegally owned and operated by Chinese interlopers like the Liu brothers. Dawson finds himself caught between warring factions—not just the good guys and the bad guys, but the good guys and the not-so-good guys.
Despite some serious problems with pacing—successive mysteries and solutions seem to pop up and recede at the author’s whim—Quartey presents tonic news for Americans who assume that Europeans were the most calamitous force ever to strike Ghana.