A Message for Nasty

Book Author Rod Fry
Rights Available World excl. NZ

A Message for Nasty tells the true story of New Zealander Vincent Broom and his Macau Portuguese wife Marie. In December 1941 Japanese troops invade Hong Kong, home to the couple and their four young children. Marine engineer Vincent is in Singapore on a salvage job.  Soon afterwards Singapore too falls to the Japanese. Conditions in Hong Kong become increasingly dangerous, especially for women and girls, with rapes, beatings and executions. Marie struggles to save the couple’s three young daughters and baby son from danger, disease and near starvation. With no chance of communication, Vincent manages to escape from SIngapore and goes on a desperate journey through India and China to rescue his family.

This gripping novel – written by Broom’s Paris-based grandson from interviews, papers and diaries – is a chilling portrait of wartime conditions in the colony Winston Churchill was happy to abandon to its fate, a gripping account of Vincent’s incredible journey, and a moving story of love and endurance. It includes many real-life figures, from New Yorker correspondent Emily Hahn to legendary Lindsay Ride, founder of the daring British Army Aid Group, and Colonel Claire Chenault of the Flying Tigers. It comes with history notes that vividly illuminate the events described.

About the Author
Rod Fry is a writer, designer and creative director of Moaroom, Paris. His research for A Message for Nasty, the story of his grandparents in the Second World War, led him on many journeys across Asia, retracing the wartime journeys of Vincent and Marie. He also carried out extensive historical research.


Awa Press


170 x 170mm




Publication Date
August 13, 2022

Rights Available:
World excl. NZ

Rights Agents:


Mary Varnham, Awa Press

Contact Awa Press about this book

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A great story well told, and the most chilling depiction I have come across of the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong and the particular horrors facing young women unprotected.

Peter Graham, author of So Brilliantly Clever

I was motivated to read the whole book in two sittings. It would make a good film.

Tony Banham, author of Not the Slightest Chance: The Defence of Hong Kong, 1941