THE KWEI QUARTEY BOOK CLUB: THE MISSING AMERICAN: Cheat sheet #2
Kafui, who lives in a town called Atimpoku, has a newborn who keeps her and her husband up all night. When she strolls outside with her baby to soothe him, she sees a car stop on the Adome Bridge spanning the River Volta, and two passengers get out and lug a loaded sack out of the trunk. It looks like there might be a body in the sack.
Gordon Tilson’s son Derek is troubled by a piece in the Washington Observer written by Casper Guttenberg, which seems to reflect Gordon’s experience of being duped by online scammers. Derek is suspicious that Casper pre-planned Gordon’s ordeal.
Emma Djan receives a surprise call from Yemo Sowah, who owns a private investigator agency bearing his name. She goes in for an interview with Sowah the next day. Sowah worked at CID for ten years and know DCOP Lartey well. Sowah hires Emma as the agency’s first female PI.
Nii Kwei joins his sakawa friends as he coaches Bruno on how to scam people online using Skype, ManyCam and other software. Nii Kwei reveals that he is the scammer who duped Gordon Tilson. The group gets raided by CID's Inspector Doris Damptey and four officers. Nii knows her well and plays cat and mouse. He and the boys give Damptey the customary bribe to be released. Damptey does so after parading the boys for a self-serving media photo op.
Emma joins the other private investigators for the customary 8 AM briefing. She is shocked when she sees Bruno’s photo in the papers. In the evening after work, Emma goes to the police station to chastise Bruno. Someone unknown calls the charge officer and Bruno is magically released.
Introducing Sana Sana, a mysterious and famous investigative reporter who never reveals his face to the public. It turns out Bruno is working for Sana undercover with the sakawa boys. Bruno works to loosen Nii’s tongue about how the boys interact with the corrupt Damptey and a hidden figure called “Godfather,” who rules the entire web of online scams.
Herbert Opare, Ghana’s ambassador to the US holds a glitzy event for Ghanaian and American journalism students. In attendance are Marc Samuels, chief editor of the Washington Observer, and Casper Guttenberg. In a meeting, Opare, learns how Casper’s article is based on Gordon Tilson’s experience in Ghana. And now, Casper has been unable to reach Gordon for more than two weeks.
Not having heard from his father in weeks, Derek Tilson travels to Accra to report Gordon missing to the police. With no results from CID’s Doris Damptey, he finds the Sowah Private Investigation Agency, whom he hires to find his dad. Sowah assigns the case to Emma with his supervision.
Emma works part-time on Sundays at the Accra Autism Center, run by “Auntie” Rose Clarkson. Emma has a special rapport with 13-year-old autistic Kojo, who is practically nonverbal. Rose’s center will be receiving a special gift of Samsung tablets donated by Josephine Akrofi, wife of the Inspector General of Police.
Emma starts her investigation at the five-star Kempinski Hotel, where Gordon stayed while in Accra. She meets three members of a special SWAT team there to protect a visiting head of state, Dazs, Edwin and Courage. Courage takes an obvious liking to Emma and takes her number. From a maitre d’, Emma learns that Gordon Tilson left the hotel in a hurry after receiving a cryptic phone call.
Doris Damptey joins Nii at a chop bar where they eat and discuss Gordon Tilson and the arrival of his son in Ghana. Damptey confirms that she’s slow-walking the case until Derek gives up. Damptey is curious whether Nii and fetish priest Kweku Bonsu have engineered Gordon’s disappearance.
Still undercover, Bruno visits Bonsu with the standard chickens as a sacrificial offering. Bonsu shows him a massive captured crocodile kept in an old bathtub, and challenges Bruno to face the reptile and kill it in one machete strike. Bruno accepts the task, but in return, he asks to meet Godfather, a request Bonsu dismisses as practically impossible.
Emma and Derek meet Poem, a Dutch woman who owns the B&B Gordon stayed at after Kempinski Hotel. She tells them that Gordon left to travel to Akosombo to see someone called Kweku Ponsu.
On this information, Sowah determines that they need to pay a visit to Bonsu. Emma speaks to her mom on the phone and gets a call from Courage.
The Autism Center holds a special event in which Josephine Akrofi presents the tablets to the center. Emma meets Damptey there and cautiously inquires about the Tilson case. Damptey warns her not to mess with it.
Bruno takes up the challenge, and during a terrifying episode, he faces and executes the crocodile with one stroke in Bonsu’s courtyard.
Emma and Sowah visit Mr. Labram, who owns the cottage where Gordon stayed near the Adobe Bridge, which spans the mighty River Volta. Labram relates how Gordon disappeared on the eve of his departure was set to leave.
Derek goes to the American Embassy to meet with a representative, who tells him that Gordon had been to the embassy demanding something be done about his having been scammed. The rep couldn’t help Gordon then and can't help Derek now.
Emma and Sowah speak to Kafui, who is one of Mr. Labram’s housekeepers. She had met Gordon while doing her cleaning work at the cottage, and now she speaks well of him. With horror, it dawns on her that she might have witnessed Gordon’s body being dumped over the Adome Bridge.
Nii Kwei demonstrates new software that creates a real-time image of a person speaking the words that someone is saying into a microphone offline. Bruno tries to coax Nii to admit he knows something about the death of Gordon Tilson, but Nii is not forthcoming.