Inspector Darko Dawson Series

 
 
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Introducing Detective Inspector Darko Dawson: dedicated family man, rebel in the office, ace in the field. When we first meet Dawson, he’s been ordered by his cantankerous boss to leave behind his loving wife and young son in Ghana’s capital city to lead a murder investigation: In a shady grove outside the small town of Ketanu, a young woman—a promising medical student—has been found dead under suspicious circumstances.

1.

Fluent in Ketanu’s indigenous language, Dawson is the right man for the job, but the local police are less than thrilled with an outsider’s interference. For Dawson, this sleepy corner of Ghana is rife with emotional landmines: an estranged relationship with the family he left behind twenty-five years earlier and the painful memory of his own mother’s inexplicable disappearance. Armed with insight and a healthy dose of skepticism, Dawson finds his cosmopolitan sensibilities clashing with age-old customs, including a disturbing practice in which teenage girls are offered to fetish priests as trokosi, or Wives of the Gods. Delving deeper into the student’s haunting death, Dawson will uncover long-buried secrets that, to his surprise, hit much too close to home.

 

“[A] winning debut . . . Dawson is a wonderful creation, a man as rich with contradictions as the Ghana Quartey so delightfully evokes.”

—Publishers Weekly 

“An absolute gem . . . mystery fans have an important new voice to savor.”

Los Angeles Times


 

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2.
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In the slums of Accra, Ghana’s fast-moving, cosmopolitan capital, teenagers are turning up dead. Inspector Darko Dawson has seen many crimes, but this latest string of murders—in which all the young victims bear a chilling signature—is the most unsettling of his career. Are these heinous acts a form of ritual killing or the work of a lone, cold-blooded monster? With time running out, Dawson embarks on a harrowing journey through the city’s underbelly and confronts the brutal world of the urban poor, where street children are forced to fight for their very survival—and a cunning killer seems just out of reach.

"Inspector Darko Dawson is relentless, and I look forward to riding with him again."--Michael Connelly

 
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A canoe washes up at a Ghanaian offshore oil-rig site. Inside it are the bodies of a prominent, wealthy couple, Charles and Fiona Smith-Aidoo, who have been ritualistically murdered. Pillars in their community, they are mourned by everyone, but especially by their niece Sapphire.
 

When months have passed since the murder and the local police have made no headway in figuring out who committed the gruesome crime, Sapphire is not happy.

Det. Inspector Darko Dawson of the Accra police force is sent out to Cape Three Points to investigate. The more he learns about the case, the more convoluted it becomes. Three Points has long been occupied by traditional fishing populations—but real estate entrepreneurs and wealthy oil companies have been trying to bribe the indigenous inhabitants to move out. Soon, Dawson unearths a host of motives for murder, ranging from personal vendettas to corporate conspiracies.

 

"Offers a more contemporary portrait of corporate greed on the continent than McCall Smith’s gentle portrait of rural crime."
—Daily Mail (UK)

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4.
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Darko Dawson has just been promoted to chief inspector in the Ghana police service—and it even comes with a (rather modest) salary bump. But he doesn’t have much time to celebrate, because his new boss is transferring him from Accra, Ghana’s capital, out to remote Obuasi in the Ashanti region, an area notorious for the illegal exploitation of its gold mines.
When Dawson arrives at the Obuasi headquarters, he finds it in complete disarray. The office is a mess of uncatalogued evidence and cold case files, morale is low, and discipline among officers is

lax. Then, on only his second day on the job, the body of a Chinese mine owner is unearthed in his own gold quarry. As Dawson investigates the case, he quickly learns how dangerous it is to pursue justice in this kingdom of illegal gold mines, where the worst offenders have so much money they have no fear of the law. 

 

Entertainment Weekly’s “Must List,”

"Gold of Our Fathers is exceptional . . .” Publishers Weekly, starred review

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Katherine Yeboah’s marriage to Solomon Vanderpuye is all the talk of Accra high society. But when it becomes apparent that Katherine is infertile, Solomon’s extended family accuses her of being a witch, hounding her until the relationship is so soured Solomon feels compelled to order Katherine out of the house they shared. Alone on her last night there, Katherine is brutally murdered by an intruder.

Chief Inspector Darko Dawson of the Ghanaian federal police has personal as well as professional reasons to find the killer fast:

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Katherine was the first cousin of his wife, Christine, who is devastated by the tragedy.

As Darko investigates, he discovers that many people close to Katherine had powerful motives to kill her, including: Solomon, her husband; James Bentsi-Enchill, her lawyer and ex-lover; and her filthy rich pastor, Bishop Clem Howard-Mills. In order to expose the truth, Darko must confront the pivotal role religion plays in Ghana—and wrestle with his old demons the investigation stirs up.

 

"Vastly engaging . . . Apart from the thrill of the detecting, Death By His Grace offers an education in Ghana’s history, social life, eating habits and other customs."

—The Toronto Star 

"[Inspector Darko Dawson plunges] into a case involving corporations, community rivalries, and far-reaching family vendettas involving black magic. Absorbing for history, contemporary upheavals, plotting, and Dawson’s personality.”
—Booklist

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