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John Buchan

Book Overview: 

Dickson McCunn, a respectable, newly retired grocer, plans a walking holiday in the hills of south-west Scotland. He meets a young English poet and finds himself in the thick of a plot involving the kidnapping of a Russian princess, who is held prisoner in the rambling mansion, Huntingtower. This modern fairy-tale is also a gripping adventure story.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I'm going back to that place."

The man was clearly demented and must be humoured. "Well, you must wait till the morn's morning. It's very near dark now, and those are two ugly customers wandering about yonder. You'd better sleep the night on it."

Mr. Heritage seemed to be persuaded. He suffered himself to be led up the now dusky slopes to the gate where the road from the village ended. He walked listlessly like a man engaged in painful reflection. Once only he broke the silence.

"You heard the singing?" he asked.

Dickson was a very poor hand at a lie. "I heard something," he admitted.

"You heard a girl's voice singing?"

"It sounded like that," was the admission. "But I'm thinking it might have been a seagull."

"You're a fool," said the Poet rudely.

The return was a melancholy business, compared to the bright speed of the outward journey. Dickson's mind was a chao. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This is the story of a Grocery magnate who retired, selling his business and now lives on the proceeds. His wife is on holiday at a spa, and he decides to go on a long walk across Scotland to give his life some more interest and variety.

On the walk he finds out much about himself, meets a somewhat a

To enjoy this short early 20th century ‘thriller’ you will have to do several things.
1. Remember that WW1 has just ended and that the UK is still hanging on to it’s empire while being petrified of the potential for communist revolution.
2. Accept class division that is nowadays totally unacceptable

One of the best books I've read this year.


A rip-roaring adventure, marred by the ugliness of Buchan's anti-Semitism. The damsel in distress was pursued by people who wanted to get the jewels with which she had been entrusted. "But behind them were the Jews, and behind the Jews our unsleeping enemies." (page 120)

What I find really chilling a

I gave up on this at 30%. It's a strange little book.

It was a clever, interesting story at first, but as the dialect got broader and broader I got fed up with it. Having lived in England and having had Scottish friends, as well as vacationing in various areas of Scotland (not even mentioning TV) I'v

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