Quartey’s mastery of the art of misdirection serves him well in his third mystery featuring Accra, Ghana, homicide detective Darko Dawson (after 2011’s Children of the Street). At dawn one morning in the Gulf of Guinea, a crane operator on an oil rig spots a drifting canoe. In the canoe are the bodies of Charles and Fiona Smith-Aidoo, who have both been shot, but the murderer has also beheaded the husband, scooped out an eye, and displayed the head on a pole. When the investigation stalls, Dawson gets on the case after the Smith-Aidoos’ niece, Sapphire, a physician, petitions headquarters for a fresh look. Despite the Smith-Aidoos’ prominence—Charles was corporate-relations director for the oil company near whose rig the corpses were found, and Fiona was the first female director of the local assembly—there’s no shortage of those who wish them ill, including a man who blames the couple for indirectly causing his daughter’s death. A complex plot, combined with a warts-and-all lead and an evocative portrayal of the author’s native country, add up to a winner. Agent: Marly Rusoff, Marly Rusoff Literary Agency. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/27/2014 Release date: 03/18/2014 Genre: Fiction
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