In Ghana, Accra DI Darko Dawson’s third case—the murder of an oil executive and his equally prominent wife—is his biggest and most ambitious yet.
Charles or Fiona Smith-Aidoo must have made someone very angry indeed, for they were both bound and shot before Charles was beheaded, his eye cut out and the pair of them set adrift in a canoe that soon reached an oil rig where their beloved niece, Dr. Sapphire Smith-Aidoo, was on hand to see their bodies discovered. Superintendent David Hammond, the regional crime officer in charge of Sekondi HQ, has made no progress in the four months since. So Chief Superintendent Lartey dispatches Dawson to assist him. The new investigator—whose presence in Accra is sorely missed by his wife, Christine, and their son, Hosiah, who’s just recovering from life-saving heart surgery—doesn’t exactly get a hero’s welcome upon his arrival. Even more daunting, the murders could be rooted in any number of motives. Charles’ job at Malgam Oil brought him close to some highly sensitive officials and issues. Kwesi DeSouza, the rival Fiona defeated for political office, was clearly resentful of her victory. The Smith-Aidoos’ family tree has tangled roots, and Charles’ refusal to help secure medical aid for his cousin Jason Sarbah’s dying daughter, Angela, deepened the rift between them. And the murders may be linked to the earlier execution of Goilco CEO Lawrence Tetteh or to tribal traditions that demand ritual sacrifice. All in all, it doesn’t look as if Dawson will be getting back to Accra any time soon.
The windup may not be as satisfying as the complications, but Quartey (Death at the Voyager Hotel, 2013, etc.) lays out what feel like endless possibilities with exemplary patience and clarity, unveiling world beneath world in Dawson’s Ghana.