Books · Heroine Interviews

SRP Heroine Interview: Rosie Hardie from Fowl Murder

FOWL MURDER BANNER 820Welcome to the Self-Rescue Princess, Rosie. Please tell us a little bit about what is currently going on in your life. 

fowl murder coverLife’s become rather complicated.  My husband, Craig, and I moved to Nanyuki, a small market town three hours north of Nairobi, when he retired as a farm manager.  We expected a peaceful life: Craig enjoys his crossword puzzles and I still work as a community vet, treating animals and wildlife in Nanyuki, and the surrounding area known as Laikipia.

That all changed when my old schoolfriend, Aisha Onyango returned.  She was looking into a case I hoped would remain in the past, but before we could discuss it in detail she was killed.  Our local Police Commissioner was told by the ‘powers-that-be’  in Nairobi to close the case.  

I was angry that there would be no justice for a friend who had dedicated her life to fighting corruption, and promoting her vision of Kenya, with equality and economic prosperity for all.  

Aisha’s son, Thabiti has persuaded me to help him find his mother’s killer.  He called in a debt I owed his mother.  She intervened and saved me from going to prison for shooting a poacher, the case which I thought was dead and buried.

So here I am, in my mid-60’s investigating the murder of an influential lawyer, anti-corruption advocate….and my long lost friend.

What made you decide to take on such a risky endeavor? 

My conscience.  It’s not right that someone who spent her whole life fighting injustice and corruption in Kenya, should be killed and her assailant allowed to escape punishment.  As the bible says in Psalms, ‘blessed are those that act justly, who always do what is right’.

I try to do what is right, to treat people kindly and fairly so that my conscience is clear and I have peace of mind.  The trouble is I don’t…have peace of mind.  I mentioned the case in which I shot a poacher.  He was a young man and I was acting in self-defense, but I still took a life and that is a sin.  One I cannot justify or seek repentance for.  So if this investigation is dangerous and I am injured or killed?  Perhaps that is the justice I deserve.  If I can help Thabiti discover who killed his mother then maybe I can begin to seek atonement for what I did.

Did you ever imagine yourself being involved in fighting crime?

At my age certainly not.  Sure we all do our bit and there have been occasions where I have administered my own judgment and punishment.  I’m afraid our police and justice system in Kenya cannot always be relied upon.  A culprit may languish for months in jail without a trial and sometimes the wrong person, such as the culprit’s wife, might be thrown into prison for her husband’s misdeeds.

There is so much that needs doing to help the community that I prefer a practical and useful sentence, such as digging latrines or a new vegetable patch for my local church’s orphanage.  Generally the wrongdoers are not career criminals, just someone trying to improve their way of life, or feed and clothe their family.

Who would you say is the least pleased about your additional career choice of amateur sleuthing? Or is detective work your only career?

I wouldn’t call my work a career.  I began treating injured animals in the local community 40 years ago and over time my experience, expertise and following have grown.  So has my workload.  I get paid by the European farmers but the Africans can barely afford to pay for the medicines.  For my time I am often giving a basket of vegetables, or a stallholder at the local market will put something aside she knows I will like.  It’s kept us fed and to an extent clothed over the years.  

My husband Craig is not happy that I’m running around Nanyuki looking for a dangerous killer.  He knows how impulsive and headstrong I can be.  At first he argued against my involvement but he understands why I feel compelled to help Thabiti.  He has his own guilt from the shooting incident and also feels indebted to Aisha.  I am afraid Craig is not well.  He caught polio as a boy which damaged his left leg and left him with a limp.  After all these years he’s developed a secondary complication and I think it’s causing him pain, although he won’t admit it.  I’m sure he would prefer me to stay safely at home with him.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

I’ve become rather less tolerant with age.  Whilst there are those people who suffer through poverty, there are others who are lazy or selfish which I cannot abide.  I value honesty, hard-work and resourcefulness.  

I know Craig thinks me impulsive, and at times stubborn.  I am not generous in monetary terms, as we barely seem to have enough ourselves, but I try to be with my time, and to help those who are really in need.

I think I’m becoming forgetful with age.  I can never remember where I’ve put my glasses!

Describe what being a self-rescue princess (a strong, confident woman) means to you.

I’m no princess, more likely the ugly step mother…but I would prefer to be the fairy godmother.  As for being strong and confident, it’s not always possible as life is not easy and sets us many challenges.  We have to strive to do what is right, to act with a clear conscience as we judge ourselves, and as God will judge each of us when the time comes.  I have done a great wrong.  I took a man’s life so I do what I can to make amends by helping the innocent, and those who are less able or poor.  

I survived some very difficult times, begging for a roof over our heads and with barely enough food to feed the family.  This made me stronger but also more aware of other people’s struggles, especially here in Kenya.  If I am strong now it is so I can assist those who are not.   

If your story or life had a theme song, what would it be?

I’m not one for popular music so I asked my younger friends Chloe, who recently arrived from the UK, and Thabiti.  They suggested ‘Bright Side of the Road’ written and sung I believe by Van Morrison.

Do you plan on dabbling in amateur sleuthing in the future, or have you hung up your detective hat?

I shouldn’t say this but it’s rather exciting being involved in an investigation.  Craig would not be happy with me but…


Readers can learn what Rose and her friends become involved in next by joining my mailing list and receiving a free novella, Grevy Danger.  

Two deaths. No crime.  For this determined sleuth the answers are not black and white.

When Rose joins an endangered zebra expedition, she’s shaken to her core when an injured girl she treats suddenly dies. And after another death days later, Rose can’t silence the alarm bells in her head that point to murder.


Blurb for Fowl Murder

A shooting on the savannah. A tragedy she’d rather forget. When past and present collide, will she survive to see her future?

Kenya, 2016. Semi-retired vet Rose Hardie just wants to enjoy her golden years and care for her disabled husband. But her peace of mind shatters when a forgotten confidant returns and reopens a case where Rose pulled the trigger. With her memories of a poacher’s shocking death flooding back, she barely catches her breath before her childhood friend is brutally murdered.

Braving blackmail and entrenched corruption, our tireless heroine dives headfirst into helping the victim’s son solve the crime. But when the lead suspect is killed, Rose’s plans for a peaceful life end up dead and buried…

As her own traumatic history unravels, can Rose catch a killer before she becomes the next victim?

Fowl Murder is the first book in the compelling Kenya Kanga Mystery series. If you like Agatha Christie and Agatha Raisin, determined heroines, unpredictable twists and turns, and vivid African settings, then you’ll love Victoria Tait’s pulse-pounding tale.

Buy Fowl Murder to solve a searing whodunit today!


Books · Reviews

SRP Review: Cam Shaw from Who Killed the Ghost in the Library?

Disclaimer: The reviews I post on The Self Rescue Princess won’t be the usual style of book review that talks about all the points and elements of a novel. My intention is to focus on heroines that I believe exemplify the spirit and character of a self-rescuing princess or are on their way to achieving that status.

who killed the ghostWho Killed the Ghost in the Library was just the book I was looking for right now. We’re in the middle of a prolonged kitchen remodel and my stress level is a little high. I wanted a fun, engaging book that took me out of my life and put me into someone else’s and this book accomplished those goals. Cam Shaw is a headstrong, sassy, take-charge, yet still kind and trusting. Normally, I get annoyed with heroines who are so trusting they fall into the too-stupid-to-live category of heroines (and those books I stop reading after a couple of chapters). But, Cam’s trusting nature wasn’t because she refused to see what was in front of her, instead it rested in the fact she focused on the good in people and was willing to give everyone a chance.

With Cam Shaw, I found her accepting and trusting nature charming and a true part of her character rather than just a device for her to rush headlong into trouble. She believes the best about everyone and is willing to take them at their word, a little unusual for an amateur sleuth, but that’s what I loved that about her. Now don’t get me wrong, Cam isn’t a push-over. She’ll speak her mind and when she finds out she’s been lied to all bets are off.

I also admired the fact that Cam isn’t afraid to ask her friends for help when needed. It’s not a trait that comes easily to me and I found that very intriguing and admirable with Cam. I loved seeing a character who wasn’t afraid to reach out to her friends for help and accept it.


Books · Craft · Excerpt · Scrapbooking · West Virginia · Writing

Crafting Moment from Cropped to Death

With March being National Craft Month, I’m featuring some crafting…and love of handmade items…moments from my novels. In this scene, Faith is teaching homicide detective Ted Roget some basics of scrapbooking.

CROPPED front smExcerpt:

Since he wanted to play student, I’d oblige. I pulled the band from my hair and allowed it to fall to my shoulders. “I chose some neutrals paper for the background. If you want, you could pick out a different color or we can find a complementary color of cardstock to use as the photo mat for your project.”

“And that would be?” His gaze roamed around the store.

“Are you asking what is your project or what is card-stock?”


I let out a huff of breath. “The project is up to you. The cardstock I can show you. It’s a type of paper we carry. It’s down this aisle.” I pointed.

“How would I know cardstock from wide ruled paper?” He asked, humor lacing his words.

“For one thing, we don’t sell wide-ruled paper. We’re not a stop for back to school shopping.”

“I’m a guy. Paper is paper.”

Gesturing toward the multitude of color paper, I stepped aside. “This, Detective Roget—”

“Can you call me Ted?” He gazed into my eyes, the green of his a vivid forest. “The detective title sounds out of place.”

Flustered by the intensity in his eyes, I looked away. “Sure. Why not, that’s your name isn’t it?” What is it about Roget—Ted—that caused words to start flowing before the mind engaged?

His lips twitched into a smile and then slipped back in-to a straight line.

“This is cardstock. It’s heavier. Paper. Acid-free…” I clamped my lips shut and stopped the stumbling speech. Hard to inspire confidence when a person sounded like they didn’t know what they were talking about.

“I’m supposed to choose one from all of those?” He looked terrified at the prospect.

“It’s just paper.” Why did men get so bent out of shape by hues? I stood in the middle of the aisle and pointed at the reds and then the blues. “What color is predominant in the photo you’re using for your layout?”

He grimaced. “This was a spur of the moment decision. I had nothing else to do tonight.“

“I figured that.” I refrained from rubbing my hands in malicious glee. It was time to turn the tables. Let him feel uncomfortable and out of his league.

He reached forward and pulled out a burgundy sheet, the color closest to his reach.

The best way to know a person was to see what their private life was like. And this was my opportunity, so I went through the wide open door. “If you’re not going to enter into the contest, I’m willing to waive the subject of the photograph for your layout. Do you have an idea of what kind of picture you’d like to put on the layout?”

“Not really.” He returned the burgundy and removed a sheet of Christmas red.

“Please don’t tell me you’re not a picture-taking kind of guy.”

“Not too much in life to take photos of.”

I gaped at him. “Of course there is. Everyone’s life is worth documenting. What about holiday celebrations, mile-stones in your life, your work, or family?”

Sadness appeared in his eyes. He pivoted and continued down the row of paper. “My little girl loves green. The brighter the better.”

Questions tumbled through my mind about his daughter, but it was none of my business. Besides finding out what shade of green his little girl preferred. A jade green color caught my eye and I pointed it out to Ted.

With a blinding grin, he shook his head. Squatting down, he grabbed a handful of neon green cardstock from the bottom slot of the paper rack.

“This is Claire.” He waved the stack at me. “Can I use this as the major color and then use tan as the mat? Or whatever is the technical term you used. I’ll make something for her to hang in her room.”

The love in his voice for his daughter touched me. I felt my attitude softening toward Ted. Maybe his ulterior motive for stopping by was a good one. Not that I had any clue what it would be.


Former US Army JAG specialist, Faith Hunter, returns to her West Virginia home to work in her grandmothers’ scrapbooking store determined to lead an unassuming life after her adventure abroad turned disaster. But her quiet life unravels when her friend is charged with murder, and Faith inadvertently supplied the evidence. So Faith decides to cut through the scrap and piece together what really happened. With a sexy prosecutor, a determined homicide detective, a handful of sticky suspects and a crop contest gone bad, Faith quickly realizes if she’s not careful, she’ll be the next one cropped.
Cropped to Death is available in print, ebook, and audio. The book can be purchased at: