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   The 39 Steps
 

The 39 Steps

Author: Buchan, John Set In . . .
 Europe, England, Scotland, London
Genre: Other
Time Frame: None
Published:
Description: An effortless adventure classic spanning the void between dime shocker and quality literature, John Buchan’s “The 39 Steps” still satisfies after many reads. Richard Hannay returned to England, after making his fortune in South Africa, is unwillingly ensnared in a tortured plot to assassinate Karolides the Greek premier and so plunge Europe into war. Scudder, an American journalist turned spy has coded information relating to the plot but is murdered in Hannay's luxurious flat before he can pass on the code. Hannay, with all fingers pointing to him as the murderer escapes by Scottish express and with Scudder's coded notebook .Decamping from the train in the Sottish lowlands ( the Forth Bridge escape from the train was created with the 1935 Hitchcock film adaptation ) he is pursued across hill and dale by the police and the enemy agents intent on seizeing the notebook. In his flight he holes up in a remote wayside inn with a literary inn keeper, who can quote Kipling. It is here that he masters the code and learns Scudder's secrets. From then on it's a race to get to London and notify the authorities. One of the brilliant scenes on the way, concerns Hannay posing as road mender to evade his pursuers. To do this, Hannay explains how you must become one with the environment you're using as a cover; one of Buchans's favourite ploys and one employed in many of his novels. Hannay exchanges pursued for pursuer and tracks the agents to their escape channel and ultimately the title of the book is explained. Every reading of this splendid and timeless novel reveals further delights that may have been missed before and even well remembered scenes take on a fresh vividness and charm.
  
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