A twinkle in his ‘I’
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