John Buchan

Franklin Library John Buchan books

The 39 Steps - Library of Mystery Masterpieces - 1988


John Buchan biography

John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir, was a Scottish novelist, historian, and politician who played a significant role in both the literary and political spheres. Born on August 26, 1875, in Perth, Scotland, Buchan's diverse career included achievements as a prolific writer, a government official, and eventually the Governor General of Canada. Buchan was educated at Glasgow University and Brasenose College, Oxford. He excelled academically, showcasing his intellectual prowess and a keen interest in literature. After completing his studies, Buchan embarked on a successful career in public service and writing.

In his early career, Buchan worked as a private secretary to various colonial administrators and gained valuable experience in government service. His literary career began with the publication of his first novel, Sir Quixote of the Moors, in 1895. However, he gained widespread recognition with the adventure novel The Thirty-Nine Steps, published in 1915. The novel, featuring the character Richard Hannay, became a classic in the spy thriller genre and has been adapted into various films and plays.

Apart from his success as a novelist, Buchan had a distinguished career in public service. He served as a member of the British Parliament and held various government positions, including Director of Information during World War I. His diplomatic and political contributions were recognized, and in 1935, he was appointed as the Governor General of Canada, a position he held until his death. As Governor General, Buchan traveled extensively throughout Canada, fostering a deep connection with the people and promoting national unity. His tenure was marked by a commitment to public service and cultural enrichment.

John Buchan, a prolific author with a diverse body of work encompassing novels, biographies, and historical works, produced more than 100 books during his lifetime. His writing often reflected his adventurous spirit and a love for nature and exploration. Buchan's literary legacy extends beyond his fiction, including works such as Montrose, a biography of the Scottish hero James Graham, and Pilgrim's Way, an autobiography. John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir, passed away on February 11, 1940, in Montreal, Canada, leaving behind a legacy that combines his contributions to literature, politics, and the cultural life of Canada. His impact on the spy thriller genre and his dedication to public service continue to be remembered and celebrated.


The 39 Steps

Recently returned from South Africa, adventurer Richard Hannay is bored with life, but after a chance encounter with an American who informs him of an assassination plot and is then promptly murdered in Hannay's London flat, he becomes the obvious suspect and is forced to go on the run. He heads north to his native Scotland, fleeing the police and his enemies. Hannay must keep his wits about him if he is to warn the government before all is too late.

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