The Thirty Nine Steps
Publisher: Assembled Stories
Date: January 2007
Duration: 4 hours 39 minutes
Among the first ‘espionage thrillers’ and an acknowledged classic ‘The Thirty-Nine Steps’ well deserves its accolades as one of the best adventure stories of all time. Leaving aside the improbable denouement, the fast paced, brilliantly conceived narrative still excites and carries one along with the sheer suspense of the manhunt - a recurring theme in literature - and Hannay’s struggle against the evil that is the ‘Black Stone'. May 1914 Europe is close to war and spies are everywhere. Richard Hannay has arrived back in London to begin a new life when a spy called Scudder asks for help to uncover a German plot to murder the Greek Prime Minister in London and to steal British plans for the outbreak of war. He claims to be following a ring of German spies called the Black Stone. A few days later Scudder is murdered. Hannay is forced to continue Scudder’s work and is chased across Scotland both by police and German spies. The solution to the mysterious phrase Thirty-Nine Steps is a thread that runs through the whole story.
The Thirty Nine Steps and Prisoner of Zenda... are absolutely excellent recordings, and I'm starting to recommend them in my columns on children's fiction.