London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1919. [Spy thriller] FIRST EDITION. Octavo, pp.412. Publisher's mid-blue cloth, titled and ruled in dark blue, titled and ruled in dark blue, pictorial wrapper priced at 7/-. A lightly used copy with minor edge spotting and bumping, jacket lightly edgeworn with a few minor tears. Overall a lovely bright copy. An attractive copy of the third Richard Hannay adventure (following The Thirty Nine Steps and Greenmantle), this instalment taking place among the highlands of Scotland, Switzerland, possibly the first literary face-off on an underground platform, and finally winding up in the delightful environs of the Western Front for its spy hunting climax. Hannay's third show also throws in some beastly submarine skulduggery, the war in the air and a spot of love interest in the trim form of Miss Lamington, soon we surmise to become Mrs. Hannay. For a writer of 'shockers' Buchan is at times crisp and terse and at others rather sentimental, especially in his depictions of fighting men adrift in the ugliness of war. There's also lashings of positively rigid upper lips, and that splendid (now rather unfashionable) bit of Late Colonial Zen; the uncluttered conviction that the very least a chap can do when faced with evil is go down swinging. Buchan's famous adventurer was one of the forerunners to James Bond; [author Ian Fleming] "was certainly influenced by no-nonsense British fictional characters such as Richard Hannay" [Gilbert, p.616]. Item #52657
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