The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan (1915)

A classic spy story in which Richard Hannay is chased across the landscape of Galloway, in Scotland. There are car and aeroplane chases, as well as a cottage full of explosives. Thrilling stuff.

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886)

Lawyer Gabriel Utterson investigates the disappearance of his friend Mr Jekyll,  in a story as mysterious and dangerous as the foggy London streets in which it is set. We may all be familiar with the notorious transformation of one being into another, but this ingenious novel is well worth reading nonetheless.

The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers (1903)

Foreign Office official Caruthers joins his friend Davies for a holiday on the Baltic Sea. But the holiday is not what he expected: a small sailboat instead of a yacht, and an investigation into the suspicious activities of the Germans rather than days spent idly tacking from one island to the next.

1066 and All That by W C Sellar and R J Yeatman (1930)

A comic look at the history of Britain, with lots of silly illustrations. A must for schoolboys.

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle (1902)

Possibly the most famous of Sherlock Holmes’ adventures, he and Watson set off to the South Downs to investigate accounts of a supernatural beast. Only Holmes’ superior logic and unsentimental deception of his companion can solve the crime. All of the adventures of Sherlock Holmes are well worth reading.

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