Top Ten Tuesday: John Buchan’s Richard Hannay – A Man of Many Parts

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

The rules are simple:

  • Each Tuesday, Jana assigns a new topic. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want.
  • Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.
  • Add your name to the Linky widget on that day’s post so that everyone can check out other bloggers’ lists.
  • Or if you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment.

This week’s topic is Character Freebie which we can interpret in any way we want as long as it deals with book characters. Regular followers of my blog won’t be surprised to learn that my take on the topic has a John Buchan theme.

Richard Hannay, the hero of The Thirty-Nine Steps, appears in four other John Buchan novels (five, if you count the short story collection The Runagates Club). In all of them, Hannay shows himself to be adept at assuming a disguise and/or alias. Here are ten examples. Well, nine actually, with the tenth demonstrating he’s not the only one in the family who can cleverly play a part.


In The Thirty-Nine Steps:

  • Hannay makes his escape from his Portland Place flat disguised as a milkman
  • He adopts the surname Twisdon and gives an impromptu speech at a political meeting
  • He outwits pursuers by disguising himself as ‘the spectacled roadman’
  • He tries to persuade one of the baddies his name is really Ned Ainslie
  • He leaves Sir Walter Bullivant’s house disguised as his chauffeur

In Greenmantle:

  • Hannay adopts the alias Cornelis Brandt in order to travel through Germany to Constantinople

In Mr Standfast:

  • Hannay again uses the alias Cornelius Brand on an undercover mission in Glasgow
  • He poses as Archibald McCaskie, a travelling salesman of religious books
  • He travels through France posing briefly as an American bagman of Swiss parentage before arriving in St. Anton in the guise of Joseph Zimmer of Arosa, a Swiss porter

In The Three Hostages:

  • A very close associate of Hannay’s adopts the persona of a district-visitor in order to help solve a kidnapping

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