The Gap in the Curtain (Edward Leithen) (英語) ペーパーバック – 2001/6/1
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The 'Gap in the Curtain' is a supernatural story full of suspense. Guests at a country house party are enabled by an eccentric scientist to see a glimpse of an issue of 'The Times', dated a year ahead of time.
John Buchan, Baron Tweedsmuir, was a Scottish diplomat, barrister, journalist, historian, poet and novelist. He wrote adventure novels, short-story collections and biographies. His passion for the Scottish countryside is reflected in much of his writing. Buchan's adventure stories are high in romance and are peopled by a large cast of characters. 'Richard Hannay', 'Dickson McCunn' and 'Sir Edward Leithen' are three that reappear several times. Alfred Hitchcock adapted his most famous book 'The Thirty-Nine Steps', featuring Hannay, for the big screen. Born in 1875 in Perth, Buchan was the son of a minister. Childhood holidays were spent in the Borders, for which he had a great love. He was educated at Glasgow University and Brasenose College, Oxford, where he was President of the Union. Called to the Bar in 1901, he became Lord Milner's assistant private secretary in South Africa. By 1907, however, he was working as a publisher with Nelson's. During the First World War Buchan was a correspondent at the Front for 'The Times', as well as being an officer in the Intelligence Corps and advisor to the War Cabinet. Elected as a Conservative Member of Parliament for one of the Scottish Universities' seats in 1927, he was created Baron Tweedsmuir in 1935. From then until his death in 1940 he served as Governor General of Canada, during which time he neverthelss managed to continue writing.
A couple of points: The book starts a bit slowly and the best of the story threads is the one that ends the book. In fact, I found the last story thread to be quite moving. So, don't abandon the book too early! Finally, [SPOILER ALERT] I found the twist at the end a bit farfetched, but it didn't spoil the book for me, particularly as it allowed for a happy ending.
I am absolutely delighted with the edition released by House of Stratus, a small publisher that puts certain more careless small publishers to shame. The cover image is mildly relevant to the contents and the front and back covers are quite serviceable with respect to both aesthetics and content. A brief biographical blurb of Buchan is provided inside. The typesetting within the book is attractive and skillful. No introduction or textual notes were provided, but when reading Buchan one does just fine without such decorations.
As a 'first-rate second-tier author' generally, Buchan is near the height of his authorial vigor in The Gap in the Curtain. Devotees of Buchan; enjoyers of Haggard, Kipling, and Stevenson; and appreciators of psychological novels will likely find this a pleasant read.