Beach author Kinmond Smith releases A Stone for the Fox: A Jonathan Birnam Novel

Kinmond Smith's A Stone for the Fox: A Jonathan Birnam Novel was released recently. Photo by Michelle Quance.


A Stone for the Fox: A Jonathan Birnam Novel is the first fiction book by Beach writer Kinmond Smith.

Released in late May, the book tells the story of a young man who is disappointed with his life and goes through a series of experiences that help him rediscover his past.

Smith, who grew up in North York’s Armour Heights neighbourhood, has been a Beach resident for the past 25 years. He lived in Armour Heights until he was 19, and then in various other parts of the city during his university days and early working life.

In 1998, he moved down to the Beach neighbourhood where he bought a house.

“I chose the Beach partly because of a good friend who had moved here the year prior, and also because I had great memories of coming here as a lad with my childhood friends,” he said.

The basis of Smith’s A Stone for the Fox is a reflection of life and how certain aspects of our childhood have shaped us.

“It’s a rumination about memory and about the places that we came from and the things that were very important to us when we were children that were grounding and rooting,” he told Beach Metro Community News.

“When you become an adult, what has that done to you and how has that changed, what are those disappointments that come from lost expectations.”

Smith explained how he came up with the main character of his book, Jonathan Birnam, and some of the inspirations behind it.

“I basically cherry-picked the things that I really liked about my favourite characters and tried to distill that into somebody that was still believable…it’s bits and pieces of my favourite literary heroes and bits and pieces of me,” he said.

Some of the events that sparked his interest to write this book came from purchasing a first-edition James Bond book for his father and taking detective fiction classes in university. When Smith’s father passed away, he started a library with similar books which began his love of not only reading but a love of the detective fiction genre.

“There is that nice little echo to my dad that ‘Hey dad we got a novel published with our names on the front cover,” he said.

“The other reason to do it was to see if I could. I had written a bunch of other short stories and I always enjoyed the process,” added Smith.

This is the first book Smith has written. Before A Stone for the Fox, he had mainly written short stories and a few children’s plays.

“I put all my eggs in this basket to be honest,” he said of his novel.

Smith is now working on a second book that he hopes to finish by the end of this year.

He said that book will explore Toronto’s homelessness epidemic in connection to viatical settlements (the selling of a person’s life insurance policy to a third party for an amount more than its cash surrender value but less than its net death benefit, a now illegal practice in Ontario. Smith said the book will dive deeper into questioning whether or not there are groups secretly still carrying out these arrangements with the disadvantaged as well as other interesting ideas.

In A Stone for the Fox, Smith has set a number of scenes in the Beach. He said that was because he really wanted to showcase his community and the relationships he has built throughout the years with it.

“I wanted my community to be a part of the book… there was an opportunity to have a couple of moments that celebrated the Beach and celebrated some relationships… it’s also a bit of a love letter to the Beach too, a thank you for giving me a place to live,” he said.

A Stone For The Fox is available to be purchased at Coles/Indigo stores and at Book City’s store at 1950 Queen St. E. in the Beach. It can also be purchased online at

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