Last week it was the centenary of the first book publication of John Buchan‘s The Thirty-Nine Styeps.
Buchan’s book about a single man – Richard Hannay – on the run from both unknown enemies and the authorities, and trying to solve a mystery in order to save his own life, became the template for a lot of subsequent “thrillers” – a genre which Buchan called “shocker”, and that he contributed in creating, together with Erskine Childres.
If we are to believe Wikipedia (how could we not?), Buchan
described a “shocker” as an adventure where the events in the story are unlikely and the reader is only just able to believe that they really happened.
Sounds pulpy enough, right?
So influential was the book, that most of us today discovered it through one of its movie adaptations – possibly Hitchcock’s from 1935.