Book Reviews: The Thirty-Nine Steps

Thursday, October 21, 2010


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.

8 comments:

Teacher/Learner said...

I love exciting escape scenes in mysteries! The Hitchcock movie version was good. The sound & picture quality is like an old photo, quite vintage.

Shelley (Book Clutter) said...

I saw the Hitchcock movie years ago. I'll have to try the book sometime,and then rewatch the movie, because I've forgotten most of it.

Alexandra said...

It's a Penguin Classic, so i feel I should have heard of... but never did. It does sound like something Hitchcock would have liked. Why did you pick it up?

Avid Reader said...

Alexandra - I'd never heard of this one either until one of the theaters I review plays for decided to put it on this season. Then I looked it up because I wanted to read it before the show.

Bybee said...

The movie version is really good!

Falaise said...

I've loved this book ever since I first read it at school. Some of his attitudes are a bit dated now (his views on other nationalities are very old-fashioned) but it is still a great story. Have you read any of the other 3 Richard Hannay books? Greenmantle, in particular,is very good.

I don't think it would be as easy to elude pursuaers by jumping on a train nowe, with all the ticket barriers and automatic doors though!

Avid Reader said...

Falaise - This is my first Hannay book, but I'll have to check out Greenmantle. I did like his character.

Kristen M. said...

I just recently watched the movie and really liked it. I plan to read this at some point too.