in a 1947 edition of the novel.
Chapter 9: 'The thirty-nine steps'
'We have got to find a place where there are several staircases down to the beach, one of which has thirty-nine steps. I think it's a piece of open coast with biggish cliffs. Also it's a place where full tide is at ten-seventeen tomorrow night.'
The action in John Buchan's 'The thirty-nine steps' is set very precisely in May and June 1914, just before the outbreak of the First World War.
A thrilling adventure, the plot includes train travel, code-breaking, chases and escapes, car crashes and political intrigue.
The Library's display outlined the novel's 10 exciting chapters using quotes from the text alongside items from the Library collections.
Action and adventure
Richard Hannay is a Scotsman recently moved to London from Rhodesia. Hannay meets an American called Franklin P Scudder, who tells him about a German spy ring planning to sell British secrets.
Scudder is soon murdered, and Hannay determines to solve the mystery of both the murder and the spy ring. He escapes to Scotland, pursued by spies and the police.
The action largely takes place around Galloway and Dumfriesshire in the Scottish Borders.
The 1947 edition of the novel featured in our display, 'The thirty-nine steps', at the Library from 10 September to 22 November 2015.