Publishers Weekly's starred review for The Nine-Tailed Fox by Martin Limón: "The disappearance of three American soldiers serving in 1970s South Korea kick-starts Limón’s outstanding 12th mystery featuring U.S. Army CID agents George Sueño and Ernie Bascom. The missing men were all reliable, hadn’t shown any signs of stress, and didn’t have access to classified information that would have made them appealing targets for North Korean intelligence. Despite the urgency of the assignment to find the men, Sueño and Bascom run into bureaucratic obstacles and also find themselves diverted from pursuing clues to dealing with an unauthorized refrigerator delivery—an absurdity that will remind readers of the TV series M.A.S.H. They eventually get a promising lead, but it’s one that they hesitate to share with their superiors—that the case may be connected with the myth of the gumiho, a fox transformed into a shape-shifting lustful woman by the gods. Clever plotting and superior characterizations lift this suspenseful, atmospheric installment."
Physician and crime author Kwei Quarty last visited Mysterious Galaxy as part of our Mystery Morning spotlight during our 23rd Birthday Bash, focusing on Gold of Our Fathers. Kwei was born in Ghana, West Africa, to a Ghanaian father and black American mother, both of whom were lecturers at the University of Ghana; Ghana is the setting for his Inspector Darko Dawson series. In Death by His Grace, The Seattle Times Review of Books notes, "murder hits uncomfortably close to home when Chief Inspector Darko Dawson’s wife’s cousin is killed. The detective deals with heightened familial tensions — not to mention the deterioration of his aging father, the wayward ways of his adopted son, and a bout of malaria — all while working to ferret out a dangerous killer. There’s plenty of delicious Ghanaian food mentions to salivate over and a friendly overview of Accra’s plentiful neighborhoods, but Quartey covers the bad as well as the good: an inherent part of the plot here includes the workings — and cons — of a charismatic church and its self-enriching leader."
Three American GIs have gone missing in different South Korean cities. Sergeants George Sueno and Ernie Bascom, agents for the Army CID, link the disappearances to a woman locally rumored to be agumiho, a legendary thousand-year-old nine-tailed fox disguised as a woman. George suspects that the woman is no mythical creature, but a wealthy kidnapper who's good at covering her tracks.
Meanwhile, George and Ernie are caught in a power struggle between two powerful women in the 8th Army hierarchy. Scrambling to appease his boss and stay one step ahead of a psychotic mastermind, George realizes he will have to risk his life to discover the whereabouts of his fellow countrymen.
Katherine Yeboah's marriage to Solomon Vanderpuye is all the talk of Accra high society. But when it becomes apparent that Katherine is infertile, Solomon's extended family accuses her of being a witch, hounding her until the relationship is so soured Solomon feels compelled to order Katherine out of the house they shared. Alone on her last night there, Katherine is brutally murdered by an intruder wielding a machete. Chief Inspector Darko Dawson of the Ghanaian federal police has personal as well as professional reasons to find the killer fast: Katherine was the first cousin of his wife Christine, who is devastated by the tragedy.
South Korea, 1974. US Army CID Sergeants George Sueno and Ernie Bascom are assigned an underwhelming case of petty theft: Major Frederick M. Schulz has accused Miss Jo Kyong-ja, an Itaewon bar girl, of stealing twenty-five thousand won from him--a sum equaling less than fifty US dollars. After two very divergent accounts of what happened, Miss Jo is attacked, and Schulz is found hacked to death only days later. Did tensions simply escalate to the point of murder?
Looking into other motives for Schulz's death, George and Ernie discover that the major was investigating the 501st Military Intelligence Battalion: the Army's counterintelligence arm, solely dedicated to tracking North Korean spies. The division is rife with suspects, but it's dangerous to speak out against them in a period of Cold War finger-pointing. As George and Ernie go head-to-head with the battalion's powerful, intimidating commander, Lance Blood, they learn that messing with the 501st can have very personal consequences.
Darko Dawson has just been promoted to Chief Inspector in the Ghana Police Service, but it comes at a price. He is transferred to remote Obuasi, in the Ashanti region, an area now notorious for the illegal exploitation of its gold mines. His first case involves a body unearthed in one of the gold quarries, a Chinese immigrant named Bao Liu, one of many who have flocked to the Ashanti region to work the alluvial gold mines. The list of potential suspects is a long one, and Dawson must pursue it alone, because he can't trust his sergeant partner.
South Korea, 1970s: A young Korean woman dressed in a traditional chima-jeogori is found strangled to death on the frozen banks of the Sonyu River with only a carefully calligraphed poem in her sleeve. George Sueno and Ernie Bascom, sergeants in the US 8th Army CID, are called in by the formidable KNP detective Gil Kwon-up to investigate. George and Ernie's job is to liaise with Korean law enforcement on matters that may involve or implicate 8th Army American servicemen.
But as they learn about the case, George and Ernie realize this isn't their jurisdiction the nearby village of Sonyu-ri is occupied by the US Army's 2nd Infantry Division, a disciplined and often brutal force that won't stand for outside officers questioning its men. All that George and Ernie are able to glean before being kicked out of town is that they are close to the truth and that a mysterious smuggler, known locally as "the Ville Rat," holds the key to the woman's murder.
Luckily, the pair is officially assigned another investigation in the area, which allows them to continue nosing around for answers. They are to elucidate the circumstances of a shooting incident between a young African American private and his white supervising chief. Racial tensions run high, and George and Ernie must tread carefully to solve both cases. But they aren't exactly known for going out of their way to avoid stepping on US Army toes, and this is no exception.
Accra's hotshot Detective Inspector Darko Dawson returns to solve a complex mystery that will take him out of the city to the beautiful coasts of Ghana, where a grim double-murder seems to have larger political implications.
A canoe washes up at a Ghanaian off-shore oil rig site. Inside it are the bodies of a prominent, wealthy couple, Charles and Fiona Smith-Aidoo, who have been ritualistically murdered. Pillars in their community, they are mourned by everyone, but especially by their niece Sapphire. She is not happy that months have passed since the murder and the local police have made no headway in figuring out who committed the gruesome crime.
Detective Inspector Darko Dawson of the Accra police force is sent out to Cape Three Points to investigate. The more he learns about the case, the more convoluted it becomes. Three Points has long been occupied by traditional fishing populations, but real estate entrepreneurs and wealthy oil companies have been trying to bribe the indigenous inhabitants to move out. Dawson unearths a host of motives for murder, ranging from personal vendettas to corporate conspiracies.
"From the Hardcover edition.