Fox, Jimmy 1955-

views updated

FOX, Jimmy 1955-


Born December 21, 1955, in Alexandria, LA; son of Sylvan and Rosalyn Fox. Education: Tulane University, B.A., 1977; Louisiana State University, M.A., 1980. Hobbies and other interests: Genealogy.


Agent—c/o Author Mail, Top Publications, 3100 Independence Parkway, Suite 311-359, Plano, TX 75075.


Writer. KALB-Television, Alexandria, LA, worked in advertising.


Mystery Writers of America.


Ione Burden Award, Deep South Writers Conference, University of Louisiana—Lafayette, 1995, for Deadly Pedigree.


Deadly Pedigree (mystery novel), Top Publications (Plano, TX), 2001.

Lineages and Lies (mystery novel), Writers Advantage/iUniverse, 2002.

Jackpot Blood (mystery novel), 2003.

Contributor of short stories to periodicals, including Louisiana Literature.


Jimmy Fox told CA: "I always knew that I had to write. But what? It was not a simple question, I would discover through many failed attempts to produce worthwhile fiction.

"A few years ago, just as I had settled on mystery as the area I enjoyed tremendously and wanted to work in, I noticed the family history phenomenon that was sweeping the country. It wasn't long before I wondered, 'What can I do with this?'

"A marriage of genealogy and mystery fiction seemed to obvious to me. Genealogy is, by its very nature, detective work; and the raw material of family history contains all the elements of great mystery—'living' characters, drama, suspense, sorrow, joy, failure, triumph, deceit, honesty, avarice, sacrifice, hate, love, violence, tenderness.… Limitless possibilities for fictional mayhem rooted in genealogy sprouted in my imagination as I read widely in the subject, took courses, and attended conferences. I fashioned a sleuth (roguish antihero and professional genealogist, Nick Herald), a stage (New Orleans and Louisiana), and a tone (literate, fairly technical, sarcastic, humorous, part cozy, part noir) that would set my mysteries apart from anything that had come before or anything being done currently.

"In my genealogical mysteries, identity and heritage—or perception of that heritage—are inextricably, usually pathologically, entwined. Feelings of superiority or inferiority are born of twisted family pride or shame. These strong emotions in turn give rise to motives for mischief—ultimately self-defeating motives for those who would go to any lengths to hide or expose unsavory familial details.

"Louisiana and New Orleans generally elicit two responses: a lewd grin or an indignant gasp. For centuries, outsiders have considered the state and the city a separate world, at once exotic, ecstatic, corrupt, dangerous, perverse, and delightful. As a writer and lifelong Louisiana resident who pays attention to such things, I know my storied territory and the mystique surrounding it very well. Through my characters and plots, I body forth the local penchant for sinning first and asking questions later, Louisianans' zest for living, and the state's historical, cultural, and scenic riches.

"I've been fortunate enough to receive high marks from experienced genealogists. That was a great relief, because I work hard to get the genealogy right. Kathleen W. Hinckley, a certified genealogical records specialist and private investigator, found my sleuth's ethics troubling (which is precisely the reader reaction I'd hoped for), but she liked Deadly Pedigree all the same, commenting in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly: 'Private detectives and police investigators are often characterized as shady individuals in mysteries, but Jimmy Fox took a giant leap from that standard when he developed the character of [Nick Herald].' She added: 'Fox demonstrates an excellent understanding of the players in the genealogical field.'

"Author and critic Nancy Mehl wrote for MyShelf: 'Jimmy Fox has crafted an involved and engrossing story that is interesting and fresh. His writing skills are top-notch, and his characters are well drawn. I especially enjoyed the character of Hawty Latimer, a young African-American woman with a disability, who helps Nick to stay organized—even when he doesn't want to. In Deadly Pedigree, Nick faces not only a physical threat, but something even harder to confront—the truth about himself.'

"Positive professional reviews are nice. The most satisfying feedback, though, comes from 'ordinary' readers who tell me how much they enjoy my work, who urge me to keep writing, who thank me for inspiring them to take up, or to continue with renewed enthusiasm, the quest for a fuller understanding of their ancestors."



Alexandria Daily Town Talk, December 30, 2001, feature article by Robin Miller, p. E1.

National Genealogical Society Quarterly, March, 2002, Kathleen W. Hinckley, review of Deadly Pedigree.


January, (May, 2002), J. Kingston Pierce, review of Deadly Pedigree.

Jimmy Fox Home Page, (August 20, 2003)., (February, 2002), Nancy Mehl, review of Deadly Pedigree; (February, 2003) Janet Elaine Smith, review of Lineages and Lies., (January, 2002), Terry Frey Weingart, review of Deadly Pedigree.