Ever since I read Fowl Murder, I have been a fan of Victoria Tait’s writing. Her second book, Tusk Justice is releasing on the 9th of October,2020. There will be a publication day special review post on my blog on the 9th. But for now, let’s have a look at how Victoria Tait came up with the idea of Kenya Kanga series.
It took me just six weeks to write Tusk Justice, book 2 in the Kenya Kanga Mystery series. This is compared with eight months for my first book, Fowl Murder. I started from zero and had a steep learning curve but it also meant I had no preconceptions or bad habits. Well, that’s not entirely true. The first phrases I type on the page are vague, wishy-washy and in the passive voice, which is a writer’s way of saying they are neither direct nor clearly written. I am also hopeless with grammar since UK education in the 1980’s didn’t believe it should be taught. The location of commas continues to confuse me. But all this can be fixed through editing, online programs and my two excellent editors.
Nobody else can write my stories though. I don’t feel I am a creative person so I need a framework within which to write. I have a country, Kenya, which few others have written about and which can be used to hit the senses with descriptions of scenes, smells and the general way of life. I lived in Nanyuki, a small market town, for six years so feel comfortable basing the books there. Mount Kenya provides a dramatic backdrop and there are many ranches, wildlife reserves and national parks around it to enrich my stories.
Next I like to find an event around which the story can be shaped. For Tusk Justice this was the Giants Club Summit: a forum convened by the charity, Space for Giants, the protect African Elephants. The first was held at the Mount Kenya Safari Club outside Nanyuki, in April 2016. The opening address was given by President Kenyatta of Kenya and Deputy Secretary of State, Heather Higginbottom, read an address from President Obama. The aim of the summit was to bring together heads of state, senior business leads and leading conservationists to secure a future for elephants and the habitats they rely on. Locally we were very excited about the event and a number of my friends were involved. Three African Presidents attended from Kenya, Uganda and Gabon together with senior representatives from Botswana.
More exciting for many people was the presence of British actress Liz Hurley (known in the 1990’s for being the girlfriend of Hugh Grant and wearing a dress held together by safety pins). I missed her when she attended an outreach day on Ol Pejeta Conservancy. At the time I was running a small café in Nanyuki and I was asked to provide lunch at the event. I think we were told there would be 150 people attending but in the end we fed nearly 250 which kept my team and I very busy. When catering in the African bush there are no opportunities to pop to a local shop for resupplies.
Elephant and Child
I believe the elephant symbolizes the plight of all African wildlife. There has been a 97% reduction in the number of African elephants from 1900, when there were over 10,000,000 to just 350,000 in 2016. In Kenya there were estimated to be 275,000 elephants in 1970 but only 26,000 in 2016. They continue to be hunted by poachers for their ivory.
At the end of the 2016 summit President Kenyatta set fire to 105 tonnes of confiscated ivory. It was a huge statement although I think making a sculpture, and displaying it, would have had a longer term impact. I hope that poaching in Kenya has spiked but it has certainly not stopped and in all likelihood has moved to other less vigilant countries.
Orphan Elephants, Nairobi
Tusk Justice opens with the rescue of an orphaned elephant on Mount Kenya. Mama Rose provided the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust with assistance. At the end of the book we visit the Sheldrick elephant orphanage in Nairobi. Their program to rescue, care for and release back into the wild orphan elephants and rhinos is fantastic. If you ever stay in Nairobi a visit to the orphanage is a must. If not you can view their work at https://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/ and even adopt your own orphan elephant.
I hope you enjoy Tusk Justice which is available at all online bookstores at https://books2read.com/TuskJustice
If you love wild animals, lush African settings and quirky characters, then join the hunt for an elusive predator!
Kenya, 2016. At a summit on poaching, the keynote address is homicide. Community vet and skilled sleuth ‘Mama Rose’ Hardie is passionate about saving elephants. But things turn sour when a world-renowned conservationist is found brutally stabbed to death.
With the authorities tied up in Nairobi, Rose sets out to bring the killer in herself. But with multiple suspects all hiding secrets and scandalous truths surrounding the victim, the culprit may be too slippery for the aged amateur detective to handle.
Can Rose trap the murderer before she becomes an endangered species?
Tusk Justice is the second book in the thrilling Kenya Kanga Mystery series. If you like Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, with a twist of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, then you’ll adore Victoria Tait’s adventurous whodunit.
Buy Tusk Justice and track down a beastly killer today!