The Thirty-Nine Steps
by John Buchan
Richard Hannay is a young, single man who has grown bored with life in London in 1914. But just when things seem slow, a man is murdered in Hannay’s flat and he finds himself in the midst of a conspiracy. He realizes he has some top secret information and his life is at risk, so he goes on the run.
I love the bits about Hannay escaping on trains, you just can't do that in the states because we have so few passenger trains. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see a train about to leave the station, run for it and at the last second leap aboard, loosing your pursuers in the process. That wouldn’t exactly work at an airport.
Hannay meets some great characters while evading both the bad guys and the police, who want to question him about the murder that happened in his flat. It’s a fun adventure story, though I don’t think the details with stick with me. I would like to check out Hitchcock’s movie version.