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Richard Hannay has just returned to England after years in South Africa and is thoroughly bored with his life in London. But then a murder is committed in his flat, just days after a chance encounter with an American who had told him about an assassination plot which could have dire international consequences. An obvious suspect for the police and an easy target for the killers, Hannay goes on the run in his native Scotland where he will need all his courage and ingenuity to stay one step ahead of his pursuers.
John Buchan was born in Perth in 1875, the son of a Scottish Presbyterian minister, and educated at Glasgow. He gained a first at Oxford University, where he began writing, producing two volumes of essays, four novels and two collections of stories and poems before the age of twenty-five. He worked briefly as a lawyer, then served as a private secretary in the colonial administration of South Africa after the Boer War. During the war he worked both as a journalist and at Britain's War Propaganda Bureau, eventually becoming Director of Information. He published his most popular novel, The Thirty-Nine Steps, in 1915, and it has never since been out of print. In 1935 Buchan was elevated to the peerage, becoming Baron Tweedmuir of Elsfield, and later that year was appointed Governor General of Canada by King George V. He died on 11 February 1940.