Saturday, 23 January 2021

Sleep Well, My Lady by Kwei Quartey

Sleep Well, My Lady by Kwei Quartey
Published by Allison & Busby on the 12th January 2021.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hard-hitting talk show host Augustus Seeza has become a household name in Ghana, though plagued by rumours of lavish overspending, alcoholism, and womanising. He’s dating the imposing, beautiful Lady Araba, who leads a self-made fashion empire. Araba’s religious family believes Augustus is after her money and 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 favourite aunt, Dele, has always thought 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 solid alibis. Emma quickly discovers that they are willing to lie for each other – and that one may still be willing to kill.

I read the first novel in Kwei Quartey's Emma Djan crime fiction series, The Missing American, at about this time last year and have now enjoyed this second installment, Sleep Well, My Lady, even more. The overall story arc of Emma developing her career as a private investigator does carry on across the two books so there were nods in Sleep Well, My Lady to events that occurred in The Missing American, but these had no bearing on the actual investigation narrative so I think the novels could satisfactorily be read as standalone stories or (at the risk of upsetting a couple of my regular visitors) out of sequence!

I felt Quartey had a much better handle on his story's pace this time around and I don't recall my attention ever drifting. I loved how he set up so much of the background plot and information before Emma Djan and her crew even appear on the page and the time jumps, once I had trained myself to take notice of them at the start of each chapter, were an effective device. I was previously critical of Emma's portrayal not perhaps having been strong enough to support a whole series, but this no longer concerned me in Sleep Well, My Lady. She is refreshingly different from the private detective norm - in that she is young and enthusiastic, teetotal and in a strong relationship - and I also felt that her quiet persistence suited her role. The whole team at Mr Sowah's detective agency felt convincing this time around too and their office banter is entertaining while also being believable.

I wasn't sure, at the end of The Missing American, whether I would actually continue reading this series, however was tempted to do so by the gorgeous cover art of Sleep Well, My Lady. I'm now very glad that I did and look forward to discovering Emma Djan's next investigation too.

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Kwei Quartey / Crime fiction / Books from Ghana

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