My favorite author is back with the next installment of my favorite amateur sleuth series! Wild Dog Revenge is the sixth and at the moment, final book in Victoria Tait’s Kenya Kanga Mystery series. Rose Hardie, fondly known as Mama Rose is adjusting to her widowed life. Her husband of many years Craig passed away after a secondary complication due to polio. Her friends Thabiti (who is also her late best friend Aisha’s son), Chloe (an expat), Pearl (Thabiti’s sister), Constable Judy Wachira and Sam, and Marina are with her – be it sleuthing or chilling out in the sun. Um, not exactly chilling out in the sun this time as they are all at the local polo tournament.
Mama Rose is asked to inspect and treat the injured horses during the tournament while Chloe, Pearl and Marina are assigned the catering job – their first gig after planning to start a café. Sam, Judy and Thabiti turn bartenders for the event.
Tension between a few players is quite obvious even before the tournament begins. One of the umpire’s wife flirts with men and the husband is definitely not liking it. Meanwhile, there seems to be some issue about who plays in which team. Unlike the polo matches where the team members are selected by the hosting committee, the team members here are selected as per the team owner’s wishes. This creates some scuffle between team members and who would use which horse.
A young syce finds one of the team members in the stable unresponsive and calls for help. Mama Rose and the committee chairman rush to the spot only to realize the man is dead. He was kicked in the chest by a horse. Was this murder? Or, was it an accident? Mama Rose finds herself drawn to yet another mystery.
I have enjoyed reading all the books in Victoria Tait’s Kenya Kanga mystery series. Be it the fascinating African settings, the venue of the event which finally leads to a crime, the characters and the storytelling – Vicky Tait is the best!
Speaking of whodunits, the element of mystery was a tad low when compared to all the other books of this series. But this did not stop me from enjoying the story. I absolutely loved the character development – it seems like the recurring characters have finally found stability in life (Thabiti, Marina, Chloe and Pearl); Mama Rose too is adjusting well to her new life, she has her friends by her side and there’s nothing to worry about.
The story is centered on a polo match. I knew nothing about the sport or horses before reading this book. I did pick up some gyaan from the story – I was more interested in knowing about the horses and their treatment (for injuries) rather than the sport itself (Not a sports lover). Am I too old to wish for a pony on my birthday? My birthday is in March; just letting you all know in case anyone is willing to send me a pony. I promise I won’t sing Yankee Doodle went to town riding on a pony… There’s some history behind this song but that’s a story for another day.
Plenty of red herrings and I couldn’t identify the killer until they came over to Mama Rose and said, “You know, don’t you?” Mama Rose is drawn to finding the real reason behind the team member’s death. It is pretty clear the horse kicked him in the chest, resulting in his death. Horses kick only when they feel scared and have nowhere to run. So what made this horse so scared that it kicked the poor man? Moreover, what was he doing in the stable when everybody else was partying?
Wild Dog Revenge ends on an emotional note. The recurring characters (Mama Rose included) are now at a point where their lives are stable. If this series would continue, I will be eagerly waiting to see what’s next for the amateur sleuthing gang.
Many thanks to Victoria Tait for a copy of the book.