Copy of THE KWEI QUARTEY BOOK CLUB: THE MISSING AMERICAN: Cheat sheet #3
After Kafui’s ominous report suggesting that Gordon might have been dumped into the River Volta from the Adome Bridge, Emma, Sowah and Labram proceed to the bridge to look down at the forbidding water 100 feet below them, while imagining the awful fate of someone dropped from that height. From there, they went up a steep hill to Kweku Ponsu’s sprawling compound and residence, outside of which were parked five SUVs that Ponsu was showing off to a team of foreign journalists. After a while, two powerful, identical-twin bodyguards Clifford and Clement allowed Emma and the other two guests audience with Ponsu. On being questioned, Ponsu was both evasive and combative, denying that he ever met with Gordon Tilson or knew anything about him for that matter. Following the meeting, Sowah wants to gain leverage over Ponsu by talking to some sakawa boys. Emma realizes she’ll have no choice but to let the boss know that Bruno, her stepbrother, is a budding sakawa. Sowah is suffering from a gouty attack and accepts Emma’s suggestion that he go home to rest. In the morning she would go to canvas the local fishermen to see if any of them had spotted anything related to Gordon Tilson’s disappearance. Emma phones Bruno to ask if he knows of a Gordon Tilson and what happened to him. Bruno avoids answering but says he can sent Emma to the right person for more information.
The Washington Observer publishes Cas’s Part Two of his expose “Out of Africa” detailing Ghana’s online scams. Meanwhile, Derek Tilson is fearful that the report of a loaded sack being dumped in the River Volta might well have been his father. Can tries to reassure him, but it’s now seven weeks since Gordon’s disappearance and Derek is extremely troubled. Cas doesn’t let on, but he too is terrified over what might have happened to his friend Gordon.
Emma and Labram go to the riverside where they find some fishermen to speak to, one of them a man called Zacharia, who is taken by the story of Gordon and who agrees to alert all his fellow fishermen to look out for a floating sack or body.
Dazz Nunoo runs into Courage in town, where Courage has bought a new widescreen TV.
Before Emma returns to Accra from Akosombo, Labram accompanies her to the police station to introduce her to the station commander, Inspector Bawa, who regrets that he has no additional information about Gordon Tilson. Emma arrives in Accra and goes straight to the office to report to Sowah about the rest of the trip. Emma now tells the boss about Bruno, who has referred her to investigative reporter Sana Sana. Sowah knows how to get hold of him.
Emma meets with Yahya, the chauffeur who drove Gordon to Akosombo. Yahya is a man of small stature who is deeply distressed after his having been fired by his employer for “losing the client” Gordon Tilson.Yahya relates how he went to pick up Gordon at the Akosombo guest house around seven that morning, but Gordon was gone. Yahya assertively denies having anything to do with the disappearance, and Emma believes him. Yahya has no motive to harm a paying customer providing him with employment, but he relates to Emma that Gordon did ask him about sakawa and had Yahya take him to see Ponsu at his compound, where a verbal confrontation took place between Ponsu and Gordon, including a threat made by Ponsu, “White man, you will see.” Emma trusts Yahya’s story, but still has a feeling he could be hiding something.
Commissioner Andoh summons DCOP Laryea to his office to ask about the missing American man and how the search was being conducted by DI Damptey and her boss Chief Superintendent Quaino. Andoh is concerned that the investigation is being mishandled. Laryea promises to look into it.
Emma goes on her first date with Courage, who picks her up in a shiny, black Rav4. They go dancing at a night club and later to an ice cream parlor. Emma wonders where he gets that kind of money. Courage invites her to his home to watch his new 52-inch TV, but Emma declines. Emma asks him about DI Damptey, who Courage surprisingly claims is sleeping with her boss Quaino.
DCS Quaino and DI Damptey have a sexcapade in which Damptey is dressed as a dominatrix who lashes Quaino to his delight.
Emma stops by at the Autism Center where she discovers that Kojo has a stunning talent for drawing people from memory.
DCOP Laryea meets up with his favorite nephew, Dazz, for Sunday relaxation and a few beers. While Dazz is there, Laryea gets a call from Sowah, who asks him what he knows about Tilson. They discuss the assassination of Bernard Evans-Aidoo, which Laryea believes was a contract killing.
Sowah finds Sana Sana and takes Emma with him to meet the journalist at a secret location. Sana is wearing a lifelike human mask to hide his face. Sowah relates how they’re trying to find Tilson. Surprisingly, Sana reveals that Gordon came to see him. Sana has been working on exposing the kingpin who rules over the sakawa boys, so he was interested in Gordon’s story. Sana told him about Ponsu but advised against going to see the priest, which Gordon did anyway and Sana never heard from him again.
Laryea tackles Damptey and Quaino about the Tilson case and dresses them down for shoddy police work. Quaino reveals that when they searched Yahya’s home, they found a jacket belonging to Tilson. They plan to arrest Yahya and charge him with Tilson’s murder.
Chapter fifty-six (April 3, night of Tilson’s disappearance)
Tilson, frustrated by his meeting with Ponsu, is in the guest house thinking over things. He opens the door to a knock and two men force their way in and club him over the head.
Zacharia and his son Solomon spot a floating sack on the river. Dragging it to shore and cutting it open, they find a dead man grotesquely swollen from being submerged for a prolonged period.
Before his disappearance, Gordon got in touch with Josephine and met up with her. The sexual spark when they met in DC is absent on her turf. The message is clear. That was a one-time thing that would never be repeated. He confesses to her that he was duped by an online scam. Josephine says she’ll talk to her husband James, the IGP, about Gordon’s predicament. Gordon is curious if Josephine has ever heard anything about high-up officials being involved with sakawa.
Autistic Kojo’s mother is surprised to find Josephine Akrofi waiting with Rose at the Autism Center. Josephine wants to use Kojo’s savant abilities to raise money via a documentary.
To an irritated Kweku Ponsu assigns the task of obtaining a shirt from a “devil child,” the pejorative name for deeply autistic children.
Emma and Sowah have potentially terrible news for Derek: the finding of a dead man in a waterlogged sack pulled from the Volta River. It could be Gordon. Derek accompanies them to pathologist Dr. Abraham Biney’s autopsy room where the body lies. Because its features are so distorted, the identification is made by the distinctive wedding band on Gordon’s finger. Derek collapses with grief.
Deeply depressed by this tragic outcome, Emma is hardly comforted by a call from Courage, who wants to see her again. She’s doubtful. Then, more stunning news: the police have arrested Yahya for the murder of Gordon Tilson. Emma and Sowah go to the charge office to see Yahya, who tells a story of having been coerced to sign a confession.
IGP James Akrofi summoned Commissioner Andoh to confront him about a letter from Gordon Tilson chastising the Ghana Police Service for their lousy conduct when he reported the scam pulled on him. The IGP wants something done about Tilson and his obnoxious demands and behavior.
Chapter sixty-four (flashback to March)
Josephine was dismayed by the increase in fees at the UK institution where their autistic son Kwame is staying. She was anxious that if President Bannerman was voted out and James lost his post as IGP that they would lose some to the perks and privileges that enabled Josephine to travel frequently to the UK to see Kwame and pay for his care. James Akrofi then tells her about the letter from Gordon Tilson. Josephine can’t possibly reveal to her husband that she had committed adultery with Gordon in Washington DC.
Emma sees Derek off at the airport as he leaves to return to the US. They are both teary over the tragic death of Gordon.
After Derek’s return home, he visits Cas to find him il and skeletal. Then, just as Cas is about to admit to having “done a terrible thing,” he collapses and has to be transported to the hospital, where he’s diagnosed with lung cancer.
To Emma’s distress, Sowah calls off any further investigation into Gordon’s death because the assigned mission to locate him has been fulfilled. But Emma has made a promise to Derek that she would find the killer. Bruno calls Emma to look into how he can get a shirt from one of the autistic children at the center. Emma suggests Bruno comes to meet Kojo at her house when his mother Abena brings him around.
From Gordon’s emails stored in the cloud, Derek discovers that Cas was behind persuading Gordon to stay in Ghana and pursue his potential scammer. It also shows how Gordon went to see Kweku Ponsu and how combative the meeting was.
Abena and Kojo visit Emma, where she learns about Josephine Akrofi’s plans to produce a documentary on the autistic boy. Bruno joins Emma, Abena, and Kojo bringing a yellow shirt that Bruno puts on the boy and takes a picture of it.
Bruno and Nii take a yellow T-shirt identical to the one Kojo wore to Ponsu, proving that the boy “wore the shirt.” Ponsu has the shirt burned and crushes the ashes with water to make a ghastly concoction he orders Bruno to drink as part of his initiation. The significance is that Bruno has drunk something from a “devil child” and will now be resistant to any poor outcomes from being a sakawa. For the first time, Sana Sana reveals his face to Bruno and also gives him a watch with a hidden camera that he will use to film the Godfather and expose him when Bruno and Nii Kwei go to visit him. It’s a setup whereby Sana will expose the kingpin of sakawa.
At a gala night at the newly inaugurated Center Against Corruption, Edwin meets up with Josephine, who, unknown to others, is really his mother. She had him out of wedlock and sent him to a relative to be raised in another part of Ghana. Kwame is Edwin’s half brother. Edwin is moving into a new place. Josephine helps Edwin with cash transfers to his account. Through binoculars, Dazz happens to spot Edwin embracing Josephine.
Chapter seventy-two (flashback to March)
Gordon ran across Susan Hadley, with whom Nii Kwei had a fling, and meets up with her to see if she knows anything about sakawa. She calls Nii and arranges a meeting between him and Gordon.
Cas is dying of lung cancer when Derek visits him in the hospital. Derek now knows the truth about Cas’s role in Gordon’s tragic end. Broken, Cas confesses and begs Derek to take his oxygen away to kill him. Derek refuses, and Cas does it himself, thereby committing suicide.
Without knowing it, Nii Kwei meets the man he scammed, Gordon Tilson, at a bar Susan has designated. Tilson starts getting drunk and insulting to Nii, who angrily walks out on Susan and Gordon.
Sana is to speak at a UNESCO conference at the International Trade Fair Site. An assassin in a nearby tree outside the compound takes a shot at Sana’s figure as he alights from the vehicle, but it turns out to be a decoy. Sana escapes with is life.
From the emails Derek sends Emma, she realizes that Gordon unknowingly met Nii Kwei. Emma now sees how wide the sakawa net is spread, perhaps even involving James Akrofi.
Emma and Bruno visit Nii Kwei at his house and discuss Sana. Bruno is surprised by Emma closely questioning Nii about sakawa. Emma pretends she’d like to become a member of the sakawa team.
Bruno confesses to Emma that he’s working for Sana undercover to expose sakawa practices. Emma now learns that Nii Kwei was Gordon’s scammer. The meeting between Bruno and Nii Kwei and the Godfather is set up for the following night.