Title / The 39 Steps
Author / John Buchan
Publication date / 1915 (first published)
Page no. / 149
Star rating / ★★★★
Richard Hanney has become bored with London life, but when he finds a dead body in his apartment, he goes on the run in his native Scotland when he becomes the main suspect. It is one of the earliest examples of man on the run thriller, and there are four other books following Hanney. I personally really enjoyed this – I had seen the film years before so I knew the plot line, but it is just an entertaining short story. It is perhaps abit dated, and there is very little character development, however it is only a short book and it is the first in a series. I will also say that the plot is perhaps not particularly plausible, as the amount of times Hanney escapes a troublesome situation to immediately get into another thorny problem makes it seem a little unrealistic. However it is such a fun, quick read, and I really enjoyed the backdrop of Scotland (I’ve never been there). I will definitely be checking out the other books in the series. I would definitely recommend checking this out, especially if you are a fan of the genre.
Title / The Riddle of the Sands
Author / Erskine Childers
Publication date / 1902 (first published)
Page no. / 288
Star rating / ★★★
While on a sailing trip in the Baltic sea, two young men discover a secret German plot to invade England. It is now considered a classic in espionage literature. This is really somewhere between 2.5 and 3 stars. I appreciated it for what it was and its place as “the first modern classic” more than I enjoyed the content of the book. I thought that Childer’s developed the relationship between the two men (Carruthers and Davies) really well and he built up tension throughout the book quite well. However I did not realise how heavy the sailing elements were going to be and that kind of dragged the book down abit, at least for me. If you like sailing and it technicalities then there is plenty of that and you will most likely enjoy this. Also be aware that is not an action-packed spy thriller – it is more of a slow burner. Overall I am glad I read it and it is interesting to read a book that has inspired the modern espionage books, but this just really wasn’t for me. However the edition I had (published by A&C Black) was really good, as it contains maps of the Dutch coastline and photos of the places they visited which you can consult throughout reading it – definitely recommend that edition.
See you next time