15th January 1986

Night of the Fox is first published

Jack Higgins’ Jersey-set war time thriller, Night of the Fox, was first published on 15 January 1986. It was later adapted as a television film starring George Peppard.

It opens in 1944 with a Harvard professor called Alan Stacy discovering that Hugh Kelso, an American colonel with full knowledge of the plans for the D-Day landings was wounded but survived in the trials runs for the operation. Washed ashore on occupied Jersey, he was taken in and cared for by a Seigneur’s wife.

The professor is captured

When he learns that Kelso is still alive, Stacy immediately understands the gravity of the situation. If Kelso is discovered, he will be arrested by the occupying forces, who may torture him for information. There is a very real possibility that Kelso will crack during the interrogation and reveal the Allied plans for the invasion of northern France, giving Germany the warning it needs to bolster the planned landing points. Kelso must therefore either be rescued or eliminated.

Stacy makes contact with a covert operative, who travels to Jersey under the assumed identity of a member of the SS intelligence division, which gives him the authority he needs to travel around the island unimpeded and order around German soldiers of lower rank. Unfortunately, not everyone is fooled, and the cover is blown.

Higgins moves to Jersey

Born Harry Patterson, Jack Higgins was a university lecturer who wrote novels on the side. That changed when he published The Eagle Has Landed, his 35th book, in 1975. It was an overnight, international success, earning millions of pounds a week. With income tax at 83%, plus a further 98% on any interest earned, that kind of success was enough to encourage Higgins to leave the mainland and live as a tax exile in Jersey, so it’s perhaps not surprising that Night of the Fox was set on the island.


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