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I'd like to see the film of this book too -- your review is really tempting!

To comment on your recent posts, I definitely think you should do a lighthouse in needlework. I'm very partial to them as we have two where I live and still cannot stop looking for them when we drive past.

For reading goals, I've made a list of books I have owned for an age but haven't read, and hope to do one a month. I'll post it to my blog soon.

Happy New Year!


I loved it too. I have the Penguin omnibus & I've read Greenmantle, just as exciting. The movies are apparently quite different, they always add a love interest, for one thing. Have you read Erskine Childers's Riddle of the Sands? Another classic Edwardian spy story.


I discovered the Hitchcock movie only recently and liked it a lot. Very different from his other movies. It seems as if it is not exactly like the novel and there is an important female figure in the movie. I think the novel would appeal to me, you wrote a very appealing review.


This one sounds thrilling :-)


Sounds like a winner! I think I'd like this one. Interesting and thoughtful review, too.


I have a Wordsworth Classic with The Complete Richard Hannay Stories, bought after I saw Rupert Penry-Jones on TV in The Thirty-Nine Steps. The storyline is indeed quite different as I remember so I must get back to the original soon.


I think Greenmantle is even better than The 39 Steps. The films are very different, featuring Hannay climbing around on the Forth Bridge. Buchan was brought up in Kirkcaldy which isn't far from the bridge so he should have thought of including that excitement!
Buchan had an amazingly successful career outside writing too.


I love John Buchan's shockers
I especially enjoyed "John McNabb" and "Sick Heart River" his sister's (O.Douglas) books are also pleasant reads ..I went through a stage of trying to get everything he'd written and Biographies too. A very interesting man who could tell a good tale well.
I haven't yet found a film or radio version of the book that stays true to it ..but they've all been enjoyable romps so perhaps it's also a darn good springboard to spark others imaginations?!
I enjoyed the Hitchcock version but my favourite is the Kenneth More, Tania Elg film that takes great liberties but is good fun see

Sorry this post is so darn long!


I've seen two movie versions of The 39 Steps, but have not read the book. Sounds like I probably should. :)


As much as I do enjoy spy thrillers in film, I don't really think I've read much of the genre. It's never really appealed to me much but the way you describe this makes it seem a lot of fun. Will look forward to more of your posts on your venture into spy/espionage fiction!


Debby--I'm planning on watching it next weekend! I may even see if my library has the Hitchcock version so I can compare. I think I am going to stitch that little lighthouse--I love them, too, though I've only seen them in movies. It is nice and small so it will stitch up quickly. I'm looking forward to seeing which books you're going to read this year and I have my list at the ready as well!
Lyn--I found an old Penguin copy of Greenmantle on my library's book sale shelf--50 cents and a cool older edition. I can't wait to read it now. I don' think the book suffered for not having a love interest, but I suppose movie goers expect it? I do have the Childer's book and is going to be part of my spy novel binge.
Caroline--I really enjoyed the novel and might even read it again sometime, but will try the sequel first. I love Hitchcock, but this is one of his movies I've not seen. He does have some unusual films--I'm mostly used to his thrillers like Vertigo or my favorite Rear Window!
Willa--It was a fun read and a great way to start the new year off!
Kathy--If you like suspense or adventure stories you might very well like this. I am looking forward to the movie even though it is going to be different than the book.
Catharina-How nice to get the whole set in one. I will be looking for the other books as well and am happy to at least have Greenmantle on hand. Now I get to see the RPJ remake! :)
Katrina--So glad to hear Greenmantle is even better. The intro hinted at this--that the second book got better reviews whereas The 39 Steps went almost to classic status right away. He did have a very illustrious career--it would be interesting to read more about him as well.
Val--He is a great storyteller--I love that in an author. It was gripping from the first page to the last! I will have to check out his other books, too, as it would be fun to compare. I think you're right--it's a nice nod in his direction that he has inspired so many movies and theatricals as well. Thanks for the link--I'll check it out. Perhaps I can find that version at Netflix. And no worries--I love comments--no matter how long or short--they are much appreciated.
Tiina--Now I will have to see the movies. I don't always like watching movies after reading a good book, but in this case, as Val says they sound like good, fun, romps!
Iliana--I never really thought of reading spy novels either--thought them too boyish maybe? But the more I read the more I like them it seems. I do love thrillers so this seems a natural progression. And I will certainly be writing more about the books I read.


I listened to this as an audio book several years ago and really enjoyed it. I just read The Prisoner of Zenda a few days ago and that reminded me of The 39 Steps, in its adventurous tone and swashbuckling hero - well, he is as swashbuckling as engineers get!


Litlove--I'd never thought of reading The Prisoner of Zenda, but now that you mention it, I think I will have to look it up. I actually sort of like swashbuckling tales, and the only way to improve on them is for the heroine to be the swashbuckler!

Dorothy W.

This sounds like fun! Hobgoblin has read a bunch of John Buchan novels, and he liked them quite a lot. I haven't been much of a spy novel reader, but I'm reading Le Carre soon, so maybe I'll get in the mood for it! The Le Carre is more my mystery group, and we're reading one that's a little more like a whodunnit than a spy novel.


Dorothy--It really was fun. I'm glad I chose to read it over the last of my weekend. I do like it when I hear others have enjoyed a book as well--I'd like to read the other Hannay novels, too. I didn't realize Le Carre wrote books closer to the mystery genre, but the two genres really do have similarities. I'll be curious to hear what you make of it.


Oh this sounds like fun. My husband loves James Bond and has read all those novels. I'll have to ask him if he knows about Buchan.


Stefanie--I wonder which 007 novels he likes best. I had no idea which one to choose to start with. I'm not sure I am the target audience, but they look like fun stories. The Buchan was very entertaining, too.


I know he likes the ones written by Ian Flemming best, but of those I don't know which ones are his favorites. He does tell me bond in the books is very different from Bond in the movies.


Stefanie--It's been ages since I've watched an entire 007 movie, so reading the books should be like starting from the very beginning. I'll be curious to see just what Bond is like in the books. And I have a feeling that Ian Flemings books are probably all very readable!


I enjoyed reading your thoughts! You have a lot of good spy novels lined up, it looks like. Most of them I'm unfamiliar with.


Rebecca--I watched the newer film adaptation yesterday, and while they did make a lot of changes I still really enjoyed it. I hope to read more of Buchan!


Happy New Year ! I bought this book in a bookstore in London and read it in a single sitting. I know this is a remarkably famous book..but I was not exactly swept away. But I did enjoy and it was captivating enough..I have always wanted to catch the play though


Vipula--Thank you and Happy New Year to you, too! It is a fast read, isn't it. It was not as flashy as I expected it to be, but I still loved the adventure aspect of it. I'd love to see the play as well. I finally watched the newer film adaptation, and while they made a number of big changes, I still thought it was a fun movie. I will have to watch the Hitchcock version next!

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