Skip to main content

Book Review: The Thirty-Nine Steps

Summary: Richard Hannay, recently returned to London after some years in the British colonies, is bored of his life and fed up of English society - until one day a mysterious man turns up in his flat with a rather sensational story. He claims to have uncovered a secret plot, with potentially huge ramifications, and that there are men trying to kill him to prevent him from revealing their secret. When the man is murdered several days later, it seems that his story is indeed true, and Hannay realises that, not only will the men now be after him, but so will the police, as there is strong circumstantial evidence that points to him as the murderer. So he flees to Scotland, where he must try to survive, evading capture by either of the parties after him, long enough to be able to relate the man's story to the relevant authorities - but will they even believe him?
I saw the film of this a while ago and enjoyed it, but I didn't remember that much about it. Probably this was a good thing, because it meant that most of the twists in the book still took me by surprise. I found this an enjoyable, entertaining story, although thrillers aren't usually my cup of tea. I enjoy mysteries, but generally prefer ones where the story is focused on the puzzle and the characters, whereas this story is more action-focused, with the main character mostly trying to stay alive and escape from the bad guys. However, Hannay has does have some entertaining adventures along the way, and manages a few clever escapes, and I still enjoyed this book. It's also a very quick read, which I read in one afternoon/evening. If it's the sort of thing you enjoy, then I'd definitely recommend it.

This is book #7 I've reviewed for the Classics Club. I'm just over a year in, so I'm a little behind schedule, but I'm hoping to read and review some more books soon.


Popular posts from this blog

Top Ten Tuesday: Forgotten Classics

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today's theme is Ten Hidden Gem Books in X Genre. I've decided go for classics, so I'm listing ten older books that have been mostly forgotten or that I think should be better known:
A Cathedral Courtshipby Kate Douglas Wiggin A sweet romantic tale combined with a tour of English cathedrals
The Heir of Redclyffe by Charlotte Mary Yonge A tragic Victorian bestseller
White Boots by Noel Streatfeild A story about family, friendship, and ice skating
The Story of the Treasure Seekers by E. Nesbit Six children determine to restore their family's fortunes - but things don't really go according to plan
Seven Sisters at Queen Anne's by Evelyn Smith Seven sisters go off to school for the first time,
Half Magic by Edward Eager A magic coin that only grants half of what you wish for - what could possibly go wrong?
Jane of Lantern Hillby L.M. Montgomery I've reviewed this recently here.
Young Bess by Margar…

Top Ten Tuesday: Mystery Recommendations

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today's theme is Ten Book Recommendations for ______. Since I've been reading a lot of mystery/detective books lately, I thought it would be a good idea to make a list of mystery recommendations. Then I realised I already made a similar list last September ... however, I've read quite a few new ones since then and I think this list is different enough for it to be worthwhile. So, here are ten books I recommend to people who like mysteries (especially of the classic or historical variety.

A Man of Some Repute by Elizabeth Edmondson (mini review) This is one I've read recently. Set in a small town in 1950s England, featuring a mysterious death which occurred seven years earlier.
One Corpse Too Many by Ellis Peters This is the second in Ellis Peters' Cadfael series, and one of the best that I've read so far, although I'd recommend the series as a whole.
Arsenic for Tea by Robin Stevens The sec…

Book Review: The Bookseller's Tale by Ann Swinfen

SummaryThe Bookseller's Tale is the first in a series of mysteries set in 14th-century Oxford. The book takes place a few years after the population has been decimated by the Black Death, the effects of which are still widely felt. Nicholas Elyot, the main character, is a bookseller who lost his wife to the plague. One day he finds the body of a student in the River Cherwell, and discovers that his death was not due to natural causes. The town authorities don't seem to have any interest in investigating the murder, but Nicholas and his friend Jordain Brinkylsworth, a member of the university, feel they owe it to the victim to find out. Thoughts  One of the big things I liked about this book was the historical detail - we find out quite a bit about medieval Oxford, the university, and particularly about Nicholas' work as a bookseller, which I found really interesting. Some readers might not enjoy these details as they mean there is a little less focus on the mystery, but I…