When a canoe drifts into an oil rig site, the bodies of a prominent local couple are discovered inside. The gruesome manner of Mr. Smith-Aidoo's death seems to be a message of some sort, but no one knows whom the message is for or what exactly the message is. The deceased couple's niece Sapphire, a successful pediatric surgeon in Accra, Ghana, contacts the federal police when three months have gone by with no closure.
When the federal police agree to get involved, they send Detective Inspector Darko Dawson to the Cape Three Points area to investigate. Since his youngest son is still recuperating from surgery, Darko is not happy to leave his family, and he vows to solve the case as quickly as possible.
Once again author Kwei Quartey takes readers right into the heart of Ghana. As Dawson investigates, we see Ghanian home life, we sample the country's food, and we are shown the gaping divide between those who have money and power and those who do not. Darko Dawson is a complex character who grows with each book. He has a wife and children whom he loves dearly, but life can still throw temptation his way. Marijuana used to be his stress reliever, but he knows he must stay away from it. He's learning how to work well with his politically connected partner, and his partner is learning how to be a better detective by working with Darko. Dawson is walking a path we all must walk: he knows the life he wants to have, and he realizes that he's going to have to work to reach that goal.
In this third book, Dawson's investigation takes him out of the city and into the environmental wonderland of the Cape Three Points area. But there is trouble even in this lush paradise. The area has long been inhabited by subsistence fishermen, but oil companies are dictating where they may and may not fish, and real estate entrepreneurs are trying to get the locals moved out as cheaply as possible. It's a situation ripe for a very long list of suspects, and Quartey works it very well. I particularly liked the way he brought locals (like a taxi driver) in as secondary characters to add even more texture to an already spicy tale.
Kwei Quartey writes incredibly well about Ghana, about crime, and about the people he has created. If you're an armchair traveling sleuth like I am, I advise you to add him to your list of must-reads.
Murder at Cape Three Points by Kwei Quartey
Soho Crime © 2014
Hardcover, 336 pages
Police Procedural, #3 Darko Dawson mystery