The Thirty-Nine Steps is an adventure novel by the Scottish author John Buchan. It’s the first of five novels featuring Richard Hannay, an all-action hero with a stiff upper lip and a miraculous knack for getting himself out of tricky situations. This much-loved novel is very much of its time, but is rightly considered a seminal spy adventure and has been the basis for several movie adaptations and a stage play.
Recently returned from South Africa, adventurer Richard Hannay is bored with life, but after a chance encounter with an American who informs him of an assassination plot and is then promptly murdered in Hannay’s London flat, he becomes the obvious suspect and is forced to go on the run. He heads north to his native Scotland, fleeing the police and his enemies. Hannay must keep his wits about him if he is to warn the government before all is too late. Source