QUICK BROWN FOX by Susan Kelly


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Married for over 20 years to a moderately successful actor with a cult following, Jennifer Donleavy may not be as blissful as her husband Andrew (“Don”) thinks she ought to be’she’s still unhappy that the man who played that romantic space-opera rebel, Capt. Will Davenant, so memorably shot blanks when it came to siring an heir. Nonetheless, it’s a good life she’s leading in Stratford St. James, and it seems to get better with the arrival of unconventional novelist Suza Darc. As Jenny’s first real friend in many years, Suza takes Jenny in hand, urging her to get a makeover and some new clothes that have her fairly purring in contentment. But a series of carefully calibrated outrages—the gutting of a beloved dog, a fire that nearly destroys her house, an unusually public spot of vandalism, a series of anonymous notes asking why she can’t wise up to what’s happening—makes Jenny wonder whether Don’s new diet-and-exercise regime might not be for her benefit after all. Meanwhile, Suza may be simply sprucing her up, as a couple of her fictional characters suggest, in order to shop her to another man and get her off Don’s hands. How much will it take to convince Jenny of what’s going on under her nose, and exactly what it is that’s going on, anyway? Kelly (Kid’s Stuff, 1994, etc.) skillfully maintains the rising tension in this modest, chilling tale, even if the name of one of the minor characters indicates the story’s main antecedent a little too clearly.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-7278-5404-6
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Severn House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1999


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