cover image The Whitewashed Tombs

The Whitewashed Tombs

Kwei Quartey. Soho Crime, $27.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-64129-588-8

Quartey’s fourth mystery featuring PI Emma Djan (after Last Seen in Lapaz) is the best yet, interweaving an agonizing portrait of anti-LGBTQ prejudice in Ghana with a top-notch whodunit. Djan works for Accra’s Sowah Agency, an investigative firm retained by Godfrey Tetteh to probe the murder of his gay 27-year-old son, Marcelo, who’s been hacked to death by someone who posed as a potential partner on a hookup app. Godfrey hires Djan’s agency because he doesn’t trust the local authorities with the inquiry, given Marcelo’s status as one of Ghana’s most vocal queer activists. In a recent television appearance, Ghana’s antigay tourism minister, Peter Ansah, told viewers they “knew what to do” if they ever saw Marcelo on the street; Ansah was also present when Marcelo disrupted a speech by a well-known Christian fundamentalist. Emma’s investigation—which treats Ansah as a primary suspect—grows complicated when she learns that her closeted partner used to date Marcello. To find answers, Emma goes undercover, with one of her least favorite colleagues, to infiltrate the upper ranks of Ghana’s government. Quartey never puts a foot wrong, keeping the plot twists coming fast and furious without sacrificing the story’s heart. Readers will be wowed. Agent: Marly Rusoff, Marly Rusoff & Assoc. (Sept.)