The Red Fox


321 pages
ISBN 0-670-80653-6






Reviewed by Jere D. Turner

Jere D. Turner is Adult Collections Co-ordinator at the Regina Public
Library in Saskatchewan.


A good international adventure novel with the right mix of complexity and mystery to hold the reader’s interest. As the story opens, Robert Thorne — ex-journalist, ex-teacher, and “Russian expert” — is making his annual pilgrimage to his father’s grave. Upon his return home Thorne finds a telegram from May Brightman, a former lover, requesting he contact her on an urgent matter. Thorne telephones May and learns that her father, a wealthy furrier with Russian connections, has disappeared. May convinces Thorne to come to Toronto and help her find her father.

The chase is on as Thorne roams from the United States to Toronto, Halifax, Paris, Leningrad, and back to the States again. Thorne sets out to solve not only the disappearance of May’s father but along the way to discover who were May’s real parents, to find a missing fortune, and finally to resolve his own doubts about his father’s death. All is resolved in the end with one or two surprises and two scenes of effective descriptive violence.

The novel has a number of good points including a fine sense of place. The opening graveyard scene and the descriptions of the various cities ring true. The use of first-person narration gives a sense of immediacy to the novel and the plot is complex enough to hold the reader’s attention.

On the negative side, there probably is not enough sex for many readers of this genre. Thorne shows more emotion toward his dead father than he does to May Brightman. At one point Thorne says, “… hearing her name was like a blow to the pit of my stomach,” but for the remainder of the novel he acts as if she is only a casual acquaintance. Other problems are such things as trailing cars on a deserted road at night without being detected, some stock characters, and a rather hard-to-believe resolution to the problem of May’s parentage.

On balance, The Red Fox is a good adventure novel definitely worth reading.



Hyde, Anthony, “The Red Fox,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 26, 2024,