Perhaps more than any other book, The Thirty-Nine Steps has set the pattern for the story of the chase for a wanted man. And, of the many writers who have attempted this kind of thing since Buchan, only a very few, like Graham Greene, have managed to sustain the tension in the same way. The story's extended chase scene inspired Alfred Hitchcock's movie of the same name.
Buchan's best-known thriller introduces his most enduring hero, Richard Hannay - who, despite claiming to be an "ordinary fellow", is caught up in a dangerous race against a plot to devastate the British war effort.
It begins calmly enough with a rather boring trip to London. Returning to his flat, Richard is shocked to find his neighbor dead on the floor with a knife in his back. Near the deceased is a small black notebook containing cryptic notes about the "thirty-nine steps" and a black stone. As the situation escalates, Hannay is mistaken for a secret agent by the police. Now Hannay is running for his life across the Scottish Highlands, thinking his way through narrow escapes while trying to decode the thirty-nine steps.
With wit and flair, this old-fashioned roller coaster ride proffers soaring suspense with a comic touch.
Public Domain (P)1994 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Frederick Davidson's voice is properly sardonic, and his supercilious British articulation is just right. The story's extended chase scene inspired Alfred Hitchcock's movie of the same name." (AudioFile)
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