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Significant Scots
John Buchan


Born in Perth in 1875, John Buchan, 1st Baron of Tweedsmuir, is one of the fathers of the modern detective thriller. These days, the term 'Buchanesque' is used to describe well-written, fast-paced and subtly plotted spy novels. As well as a prolific writer of fiction, John Buchan was a statesman, a director of Nelsons the publishers, President of the Scottish History Society, Governor General of Canada and Chancellor of Edinburgh University - the list of his appointments is too lengthy to give in full detail.

He wrote over fifty books and is most famous for his character Richard Hannay, a master of disguise and a man of remarkable prescience and complexity, who features in several of Buchan's thrillers, including The Thirty-nine Steps (1915), Greenmantle (1916) and The Three Hostages (1924). Buchan did not confine himself to a single writing genre any more than he confined himself to a single career. Huntingtower (1922) is set in the Glasgow Gorbals (then a notorious slum) and features a gang called the Diehards. John Macnab (1925), on the other hand, is about poaching, hunting and fishing in Scotland. John Buchan is also a highly regarded biographer of Cromwell (1934) and Montrose (1928).

Buchan's autobiography, Memory-Hold-the-Door, was published in 1940, the year of his death. It includes a section on fishing, one of his favourite recreational pursuits. The size of his readership is reflected in the fact that all of his major novels are in print today.

Click here for list of his books in EText format


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