cover image Last Seen in Lapaz

Last Seen in Lapaz

Kwei Quartey. Soho Crime, $27.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-64129-339-6

Quartey’s intriguing third Emma Djan investigation (after 2021’s Sleep Well, My Lady) finds the Ghanaian PI, an operative for the Sowah Private Investigators Agency, leading the search for Ngozi Ojukwu, a prominent diplomat’s 18-year-old daughter, who was about to start law school and disappeared from her parents’ house in Lagos, Nigeria, months earlier under suspicious circumstances. Ngozi’s parents believe she ran off with 28-year-old Femi Adebanjo, the Ghanaian Nigerian manager of a hotel and high-class brothel in Accra. The stakes rise when Femi turns up murdered in his upscale home with Ngozi nowhere to be found. It turns out Femi was engaged in human trafficking, and Emma subsequently goes undercover as a sex worker to get a lead on Ngozi’s fate. The somewhat leisurely paced investigation builds to a satisfactory resolution. Well-defined characters complement the clever narrative structure, and dialogue in West African pidgin dialect (for which a glossary is provided) adds realism. Not just those looking for a detailed picture of modern West African life, the book’s main strength, will be rewarded. Agent: Marly Rusoff, Marly Rusoff & Assoc. (Feb.)