Picks and Pans Review: The Red Fox

updated 10/07/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/07/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Anthony Hyde

The hero of this vigorous novel of international intrigue is a journalist named Robert Thorne. An expert on the Soviet Union, he fills the pages of this book by telling how he raced all over the world in rented cars, chasing dark secrets from the past. He is living and writing quietly in Charlottesville, Va. when he gets a call from an old girlfriend in Toronto. Her father, a wealthy Canadian fur dealer, has disappeared. The woman was adopted 40 years earlier in Halifax, and she thinks that her father's disappearance may have something to do with her origins. Thorne goes to Halifax, the old man's body is found in Detroit, and there are trips to Washington, D.C., Paris, rural Russia (the most interesting scenes in the novel) and back to a Harrisburg, Pa. safe deposit box. Much of the book is about the early days of the Communist Party in Russia, Canada and the U.S., detailing how a few misguided souls in all three countries did things that had to be hidden. Hyde, a Canadian who has written for television there, effectively touches all the bases so familiar to fans of spy novels. He hasn't quite yet developed the control or style of the masters of the genre, but The Red Fox builds momentum and keeps it. (Knopf, $17.95)

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