The Whitewashed Tombs (An Emma Djan Investigation #4) (Hardcover)

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Other Books in Series

This is book number 4 in the An Emma Djan Investigation series.


Vicious hate crimes are rocking the LGBTQ+ community in Accra, and prejudice and politics threaten to stymie PI Emma Djan’s investigation.

Author Kwei Quartey tackles a real-life—and deeply personal—issue as an anti-gay bill threatens to tear Ghana apart.

Marcelo Tetteh, a twenty-seven-year-old LGBTQ+ activist, is butchered one night after being lured on a dating app to a deserted building site. With rampant homophobia in Ghana, Marcelo’s wealthy father doesn’t trust the Ghana Police Service to find the killer, so he goes to the Sowah Private Investigators Agency for help, partly because he still feels guilty for disowning his son when he came out.

PI Emma Djan is assigned the case but quickly learns of a complication that prevents her from teaming up as usual with Jojo, her trusted colleague. Emma is the only one at work who knows Jojo is gay, and now he reveals something else: for some time, Jojo was dating Marcelo, the victim.

Working with Manu, whom she’s never gotten along with, Emma goes undercover in the International Congress of Families, a powerful organization seeking to criminalize homosexuality in African countries. As Emma infiltrates the ICF, she uncovers a web of deceit and hypocrisy and discovers that the mastermind behind the murders is someone much closer than she ever imagined. Emma must race against time to unmask the killer, protect the vulnerable LGBTQ+ community, and bring justice to the victims, all while navigating the dangerous waters of politics, power, and personal secrets.

About the Author

Kwei Quartey was born in Ghana and raised by a Black American mother and a Ghanaian father. A retired physician, he lives in Pasadena. He is the author of five critically acclaimed novels in the Darko Dawson series, as well as three other books in the Emma Djan series, including The Missing American, which was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best Novel.

Find him on X @QuarteyKwei, on Instagram @kweiquarteyauthor, on Facebook @MysteryKwei, and on his website,

Praise For…

Praise for The Whitewashed Tombs

The Whitewashed Tombs succeeds on many levels, first, as an expertly plotted mystery, then as a window into Ghanaian culture but, most crucially, as the story of the human rights tragedy currently unfolding in Africa where draconian laws, some carrying the death penalty, threaten the very existence of LGBTQ communities. Though never didactic, Kwei Quartey’s novel nonetheless records the horrifying consequences suffered by ordinary people targeted by ignorance and bigotry even to the point of murder. An indispensable book.”
—Michael Nava, author of the Henry Rios mysteries

“[A] piercingly written tale of modern life in Ghana . . . The murder mystery is compelling here, but readers will also be absorbed by the politics and religious machinations and the emotional brutality the mixing of the two creates.”
—First Clue, Book of the Week

“Quartey’s fourth mystery featuring PI Emma Djan is the best yet, interweaving an agonizing portrait of anti-LGBTQ prejudice in Ghana with a top-notch whodunit . . . Quartey never puts a foot wrong, keeping the plot twists coming fast and furious without sacrificing the story’s heart. Readers will be wowed.”
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“An impassioned plea for advocacy in LGBTQIA+ rights, specifically in the current political climate of Ghana.”
Library Journal

Praise for the Emma Djan Investigations

“There is courage in these pages, in every sense—in the choices of the story’s heroes, the storytelling and the extensive research Quartey reportedly undertook to inform his story . . . A thrilling mystery, a compulsively emotional novel that doesn’t turn away from either extreme violence or the necessity of hope.”
—The Washington Post

“Quartey’s plots are expansive, free-ranging, and packed with characters to manipulate . . . It’s a delicate balance, even in this period of true-crime mania, transforming real tales of human suffering into works meant to entertain while remaining respectful of the victims. Quartey, so far, hasn’t misstepped.”
—Los Angeles Review of Books

“Fascinating . . . This tightly crafted mystery immerses readers in the sights, sounds and characters of Ghana . . . Emma is an audacious and compassionate private investigator with a keen awareness of her country's dangerous class hierarchies and deep cultural misogyny.”
Star Tribune

“There’s plenty of the locale here which adds spice to an excellent and topical plotline but at its heart, this novel is a well-crafted tale of clues followed and information gained.”
The Globe and Mail

“[A] well-crafted tale. Those who love crime fiction are going to lean all the way into this one.”
Audiofile Magazine

“Kwei Quartey's Last Seen in Lapaz is a true reward. A daring, ingenious thriller propelled by strong women, ceaseless intrigue and scintillating prose.”
—Kalisha Buckhanon, author of Speaking of Summer

“From Lagos to Ghana, and through the Sahara to Libya, Last Seen in Lapaz is a story that is as gripping as it is important.”
—Leye Adenle, author of Easy Motion Tourist

“Quartey is an accomplished novelist who creates real characters and puts them in clever and palpable circumstances . . . He does it with such easy nonchalance that we live the lives of his characters, hear the West African pidgin dialect and recoil with every trap Quartey sets for his characters.”
—Murder Ink, The Durango Telegraph

“Quartey portrays terrible crimes, human trafficking and the exploitation of sex workers, with unflinching clarity, while painting a panoramic picture of life in contemporary West Africa—the good, the bad, and the everyday.”
—Lisa Henricksson, Air Mail

“Quartey always brings great skill and a sense of urgency to his stories.”

“For armchair travelers and PI fans!”
—Book Riot

“Terrific . . . Smooth prose complements the well-wrought plot. This distinctive detective series deserves a long run.”
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
Product Details
ISBN: 9781641295888
ISBN-10: 1641295880
Publisher: Soho Crime
Publication Date: September 3rd, 2024
Pages: 336
Language: English
Series: An Emma Djan Investigation