Sleep Well, My Lady (Emma Djan Investigation Book 2)

Sleep Well, My Lady (Emma Djan Investigation Book 2)

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In the follow-up to the acclaimed series debut The Missing American, PI Emma Djan investigates the death of a Ghanaian fashion icon and social media celebrity, Lady Araba.

Hard-hitting talk show host Augustus Seeza has become a household name in Ghana, though notorious for his lavish overspending, alcoholism, and womanizing. He’s dating the imposing, beautiful Lady Araba, who leads a selfmade fashion empire. Fearing Augustus is only after her money, Araba’s religious family intervenes to break them up. A few days later, just before a major runway show, Araba is found murdered in her bed. Her driver is arrested after a hasty investigation, but Araba’s favorite aunt, Dele, suspects Augustus Seeza was the real killer.
Almost a year later, Dele approaches Emma Djan, who has finally started to settle in as the only female PI at her agency. To solve Lady Araba’s murder, Emma must not only go on an undercover mission that dredges up trauma from her past, but navigate a long list of suspects with strong motives. Emma quickly discovers that they are all willing to lie for each other—and that one may still be willing to kill.

Type
  • EXCERPT

    Prologue

    The day of the murder

    When Reverend Tagoe called, Oko had just finished his chemistry lecture, and his mother Miriam had gone to a meeting with a community alliance trying to get old town Accra cleaned up and modernized.

    Oko saw his father’s name on the screen. “Yes, Daddy?”

    For a moment, Oko thought his father was laughing, and he couldn’t understand what he was saying. He realized then that Reverend Tagoe was weeping.

    “Daddy, what’s wrong?”

    “It’s Araba,” Tagoe said, his voice cracking. “They found her body this morning.” He gasped. “A lot of blood—”

    “Stay right there,” Oko said, his voice shaking. “I’m on my way.”

    ***

    A short distance away from the front door of Araba’s house, a detective questioned the Reverend after offering his condolences. His name was Sergeant Isaac Boateng, a tubby man in his early forties.

    “Father Tagoe,” Boateng said, “please, when did you last speak to your daughter?”

    “Just last night,” Tagoe replied, his brow creased and his eyes red. “It’s Accra Fashion Week, so my wife and I called her just before nine to wish her luck.”

    “How did she seem, Father?” Boateng asked. “Did she appear to have any worries or fears? Was she upset about anything or anyone?”

    “No, no, she sounded fine, even though she’s been struggling to get over that man—"

    That raised Boateng’s eyebrows. “What man?”

    “She was in a toxic relationship with—well, I’m sure you know of him. Augustus Seeza, the guy who used to be on Metro TV.”

    “Can you tell me more about that, sir?” Boateng asked. “I mean the relationship between your daughter and Mr. Seeza.”

    “It was abusive, and Mr. Seeza was, is, a drunk,” Tagoe said bitterly. “Ever since his fall from grace, he became more dependent on Araba, who supported him financially and in every other way. We—the Tagoe family, I mean—confronted her and warned her to bring the relationship to an end. Araba tried her best, but every time Seeza got sick from drinking too much, he reached out to her and she came running.”

    “I see,” Boateng said. “But I’m a little confused. I thought Mr. Seeza married that lady—the one who owns the shipping company. Or am I wrong?”

    “Bertha Longdon, yes, you are correct. They are separated. I suppose at some point they’ll divorce.”

    Someone called the Reverend’s name. He turned to see his son running up to him. At thirty-five, he was stout with a broad, flat face and early baldness.

    Father and son embraced briefly, and then Oko stood back, gripping his father’s arms and looking squarely into his eyes.

    “Can this be true, Daddy?” he said, voice quivering. “Is it true?”

    “It doesn’t seem real,” Tagoe said, shaking his head.

    “You saw her?” Oko asked. “You saw Araba dead with your own eyes? Where is she? I want to see her.”

    “They’ve taken the body, son,” Tagoe said.

    Why?” Oko demanded wildly.

    “The police didn’t want too much decomposition to set in.” Tagoe gestured to the detective. “This is Sergeant Boateng. In charge of the case.”

    “I want to know what happened to my sister, Mr. Boateng,” Oko said, turning to the detective.

    “Yes please, sir,” Boateng said. “I can’t say much at the moment. Hopefully, we will learn more after a postmortem is conducted.”

    “But you must have an idea, surely,” Oko said forcefully. “I mean, how is it possible that my sister has been murdered in this supposedly secure neighborhood? Does that make sense to you? There are guards at the front entrance, and yet still someone was able to get into the house and kill her?”

    Oko’s voice rose and splintered, and he stopped talking to gulp down his emotion.

    “Well, it may be your sister knew the culprit,” Boateng said, “because there was no evidence of forced entry. Which is the one reason why I’ve been trying to find out from your father here if there’s anyone who might have harbored ill will toward Lady Araba. He mentioned Mr. Seeza—that Araba was in a relationship with him?”

    Oko’s face clouded. “I tell you, the devil dwells in that man Seeza’s heart. I won’t tell you how to do your job, Mr. Boateng, but I would advise you to question him very closely.”

  • REVIEWS

    Quartey’s second book in the “Emma Djan Investigations” series (after The Missing American) opens in an upscale enclave in Accra, Ghana. The gardener of up-and-coming fashion designer Lady Araba finds her murdered. The investigation into her death is quickly botched by inadequate forensics and, more significantly, political maneuvering. Shortly before her demise, Lady Araba was linked romantically to the alcoholic talk-show host Augustus Seeza, the only son of a powerful judge, Julius Seeza. When the official investigation falters, Lady Araba’s Aunt Dele brings the case to Emma Djan’s firm, and she and her colleagues take on the case. They probe Lady Araba’s past and dig up some significant dirt about her family and the abuse she endured as a child from her father, an Anglican priest. Emma must sift through the facts to find out the truth about Lady Araba’s death. VERDICT This engaging and well-developed mystery will appeal to readers looking for a solid police procedural with compelling characters and an international setting. The local culture is vivid, and a glossary at the end aids readers with unfamiliar words.

    —Kristen Stewart,
    Pearland Lib., Brazoria Cty. Lib. Syst., TX

     

    This second Emma Djan novel, following the acclaimed series debut (The Missing American, 2020), finds the Ghanaian PI on the job when fashion icon and social-media celebrity Lady Araba is murdered in her lavish home. Emma’s agency is approached by Araba’s Aunt Dele, who claims her niece’s relationship with TV talk show host Augustus Seeza was turbulent and that he was with her the night she died. It turns out that there are several people with strong motives, including Araba’s own father, a noted preacher, who sexually abused her as a child. Emma goes undercover to unmask the real killer and free Araba’s driver, who was falsely accused of the crime and has been languishing in jail. The story is brilliantly executed by moving forward and back in time, although Emma’s fans might wish she had a bigger role. Quartey, also the author of the Darko Dawson series, is one of the strong voices in the current wave of African crime fiction, which provides relevant insight into a continent anxious to maintain its unique identity yet thrive in the twenty-first-century world.

    — Jane Murphy

     

    In Quartey’s terrific sequel to 2020’s The Missing American, PI Emma Djan takes on a nearly year-old cold case—the murder of high-profile fashion icon Lady Araba in the bedroom of her lush mansion in a gated community known as the Beverly Hills of Accra, Ghana. Lady Araba’s aunt doesn’t believe her niece’s chauffeur, who was convicted for the killing, is guilty. Emma and her colleagues at the Yemo Sowah Agency assume various undercover identities—as housekeeper, cop, construction worker, professor, journalist, interested house buyer—in an effort to narrow the long list of possible culprits, including family members, several lovers, and an alcoholic TV talk show host. Stops at the morgue and a forensic lab, as well as an ongoing search for a unique murder weapon, contribute to the dark atmosphere. Along the way, Quartey skewers Ghanaian politics, religion, and the law. Smooth prose complements the well-wrought plot. This distinctive detective series deserves a long run.

    — Publishers Weekly starred review

     

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