A twin­kle in his ‘I’

Canada's History - - THE PACKET -

I thor­oughly en­joyed Kate Jaimet’s ex­plo­ration and analysis of The 39 Steps and other spy thrillers by John Buchan [“39 Steps to Fame,” Au­gust-Sep­tem­ber 2016]. How­ever, her in­ti­ma­tion that only in the third Richard Han­nay novel, Mr. Stand­fast, did women have prom­i­nent roles over­looks the fact that in the sec­ond novel, Greenmantle, the arch-neme­sis of Han­nay is the mes­meris­ing Hilda von Einem! This novel was pub­lished in 1916.

Does Han­nay por­tray the at­ti­tudes of Buchan on is­sues of race and so­cial class? I do not have enough ev­i­dence to judge. Since th­ese nov­els are pre­sented in first per­son nar­ra­tion, it is easy to slide into the as­sump­tion that they do. As I read him, Buchan por­trays Han­nay with high prin­ci­ples, good in­stincts, and also with the foibles and fail­ings that make up the fab­ric of most of us mor­tals. There are mo­ments in the nov­els when John Buchan pre­sents that “I” with a twin­kle in his eye.

Lorne Ro­manko Sud­bury, On­tario

the Women’s In­sti­tutes across Canada to put to­gether lo­cal his­to­ries. Th­ese “cut-and­paste” col­lec­tions are a valu­able source of in­for­ma­tion. I do a bit of mil­i­tary re­search on ceno­taphs and hon­our rolls and of­ten find pic­tures and ar­ti­cles about ser­vice peo­ple, in the large fo­lio-sized al­bums.

John P. Sargeant Lon­don, On­tario

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