The Thirty Nine Steps

by John Buchan | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1784873810 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingperryfranwing of Elk Grove, California USA on 12/6/2022
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Journal Entry 1 by wingperryfranwing from Elk Grove, California USA on Tuesday, December 6, 2022
May 1914. Britain is on the eve of war with Germany. Richard Hannay is living a quiet life in London, but after a chance encounter with a mysterious stranger he stumbles into a hair-raising adventure - a desperate hunt across the country and against the clock, pursued by the police and a cunning, ruthless enemy. Hannay's life and the security of Britain are in grave peril, and everything rests on the solution to a baffling enigma: what are the thirty-nine steps?

This is also No. 743 on the 1001 books you must read before you die list.

Journal Entry 2 by wingperryfranwing at Elk Grove, California USA on Saturday, January 21, 2023
The Thirty-Nine Steps was written by John Buchan in 1915. Buchan was a Scottish novelist, historian, and Unionist politician who started writing adventure novels in 1910, Thirty-Nine Steps being his most famous. The novel is one of the first spy thrillers written on the brink of WWI about a German plot to declare war on Britain. The protagonist is Richard Hannay, a South African engineer who is bored with life in London. Then one night his neighbor named Scudder, claims to fear for his life and asks Hannay's help. He tells Hannay of a plot to assassinate the Greek Premier leading to Europe's destabilization and war. Scudder is a spy and claims to be following a ring of German spies called the Black Stone who are after Britain's defense plans. When Scudder ends up dead, Hannay is thought to be the culprit and escapes to the Scottish Highlands to hide out. But the Highlands seems to be full of German agents and police who are after him by car and aeroplane. In the mean time Hannay has decoded Scudder's notebook and a clue about thirty-nine steps and high tide seem to be important in stopping the threat. But what are the 39 steps and can the plot be stopped?

This novel is definitely dated and contained way too many coincidences as plot threads. There is also a bit of anti-Semitism scattered throughout the novel. Hannay is able to avoid the Germans and police by using disguises and is also ridiculously lucky. This novel was a precursor to later spy thrillers such as James Bond and it probably established the formula for car chases, disguises, and master criminals. Overall, I only mildly enjoyed this for what it is. I read this mainly because it is on the list of 1001 books to read before you die. I know this was also made into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock in 1935. I have never seen the movie but I know Hitchcock took some liberties with the plot including adding some lead female characters that were not in the book. I guess I need to seek out this classic Hitchcock! I also have a few other books by Buchan on my shelves that I should try to read at some point.

Journal Entry 3 by wingperryfranwing at Little Free Library - Foulks Ranch Rd. in Elk Grove, California USA on Thursday, February 2, 2023

Released 1 mo ago (2/3/2023 UTC) at Little Free Library - Foulks Ranch Rd. in Elk Grove, California USA


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