On February 9, 2020 | 2 Comments

The World’s Female Sleuths

I became interested in the world’s female sleuths after writing the first two novels in my Emma Djan Investigations series. Emma hails from Ghana, where, after being kicked out of the Ghana Police Service GPS), joins a detective agency. Her first case, in which The Missing American man comes to Ghana looking for his online love, plunges her into a bizarre world of Internet scams and devious fetish priests.  Her second adventure, expected 2021, is Sleep Well, My Lady, based on a real case out of Kenya. Like Mma Ramotswe (see below), Emma Djan is inspired by her late father, who was a homicide detective in the GPS.

The World's Female Sleuths: Ghana

The World’s Female Sleuths: Ghana

World's Female Sleuths



Now, off to Japan, where in The Kingdom by Fuminori Nakamura, Yurika is a freelancer in the Tokyo underworld. She poses as a prostitute, carefully targeting potential johns, selecting powerful and high-profile men. When she is alone with them, she drugs them and takes incriminating photos to sell for blackmail purposes. This dark novel that pushes the boundaries of the genre with sympathetic antiheroine.



The World's Female Sleuths: Japan

The World’s Female Sleuths: Japan (Shutterstock)



World's Female Sleuths

The Kingdom (Image: Soho Press)














Next, we zoom over to South Africa, where we find Jassy Mackenzie’s private investigator Jade de Jong. Library Journal says, “…For those readers who like Sara Paretsky and Lynda La Plante and fans of international crime fiction,” giving you an idea of how tough a protagonist she is.

Random Violence: In Johannesburg prosperous whites live in gated communities; when they exit their cars to open the gates, carjackings are common. But seldom is the victim killed, much less shot twice, like Annette Botha. Piet Botha, the husband of the wealthy woman, is the primary suspect in his wife’s murder. As Jade probes into this and other recent carjacking cases, a pattern begins to emerge, a pattern that goes back to her father’s murder and that involves a vast and intricate series of crimes for profit.



The World's Female Sleuths: South Africa

The World’s Female Sleuths: South Africa (Shutterstock)




World's Female Sleuths

Random Violence (Image: Soho Press)













Directly north of South Africa is Botswana, home to a female sleuth that to many will need no introduction: Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith’s creation, the dearly beloved Precious Ramotswe, who is revered for her pragmatic, gentle, but just view of the world.

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, the first detective novel in the eponymous series, was  first published in 1998. Mma Precious Ramotswe begins the first detective agency in Botswana in the capital city Gaborone, after her beloved father dies. She hires a secretary and solves cases for her clients. At first, Smith’s novels in this series didn’t catch on in the US, although it had a following in Smith’s native Scotland. It’s said that after September 11, 2001, mystery readers were looking for something comforting rather than violent and murderous, and this series really fit the bill. Today, these novels are seen everywhere in the world in multiple languages, a mere dream for most authors.

The World's Famous Sleuths: Botswana

The World’s Female Sleuths: Botswana (Shutterstock)


World's Female Sleuths

First edition of No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (Fair use:














Stay tuned for the next round of The World’s Female Sleuths. We’re not anywhere near done!

Adam M Beroud Posted February 27, 2020 at12:51 pm   Reply

Dear Mr. Quartey–

I am writing to tell how much I enjoyed your first novel, Wife of the Gods. A staff member at Vroman’s recently suggested I check you out. I am a first-time novelist trying to break into the crime/mystery genre and in discussing my writing with this staff member he recommended you and a couple of other authors at Soho Press. It was a great pleasure plowing through your first Darko Dawson book. I look forward to reading your other work, including your most recent book, The Missing American. I regret missing your book signing last month but will make a point of catching you the next time you appear at Vroman’s.

Best regards,

Adam Beroud

Kwei Quartey Posted February 27, 2020 at5:43 pm   Reply

Thanks for reaching out, Adam. I’m happy you enjoyed Wife Of The Gods and hope you like TMA. I may be signing elsewhere in the LA area and since you’re on the mailing list you should get the notification.

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