****The Thirty-Nine Steps
by John Buchan
Reviewed July 29, 2003.
Penguin Books, London, 1994. First published in 1915. 103
I picked this up for a couple of pounds in a tourist shop in Scotland.
An American edition is available via Amazon.com along with the novel The
by the same author for $10.36.
Richard Hannay had recently arrived in London from South Africa, and
he was bored. One day, a stranger from an apartment upstairs urgently
asks to come in. After checking that the door is locked, he apologizes
that he’s a bit rattled tonight. “You see, I happen at this moment
to be dead.”
Mr. Hannay thinks the guy’s crazy, but the man goes on to tell a tale
of his adventures as a spy and some vital information he has about a sinister
event of international importance due to take place on June 15th.
That morning, he got a card in his box from a dangerous enemy, so he faked
his own death and is now looking for a place to hide.
Things seem to go smoothly, and the man stays in Mr. Hannay’s apartment
for a few days. He tells Mr. Hannay a few details about his important
work, but Richard doesn’t take him very seriously. Until the day he
comes home and finds the man dead.
Richard decides he had better leave quickly. He makes a daring
escape and ends up chased across the Scottish moors by both the police
and the international villains. He uses several inventive ways to
elude capture and to eventually foil the plot of the spies trying to bring
about the destruction of Britain.
This is a fun, old-fashioned spy yarn, perfect for light vacation reading.
Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.
All rights reserved.
-top of page-