John Buchan, the Thirty-Nine StepsDedication (to Thomas Arthur Nelson):

My Dear Tommy
You and I have long cherished an affection for that elementary type of tale which Americans call the ‘dime novel’ and which we know as the ‘shocker’ – the romance where the incidents defy the probabilities, and march just inside the borders of the possible. During an illness last winter I exhausted my store of those aids to cheerfulness, and was driven to write one for myself. This little volume is the result, and I should like to put your name on it in memory of our long friendship, in the days when the wildest fictions are so much less improbable than the facts.

This is an adventure story written just after and set just before the outbreak of the first world war. In it, the resourceful hero Richard Hannay finds himself catapulted one day from the boredom of a vigorous young man, at something of loss now that he is back in London after making his fortune in Rhodesia, into a world of danger and intrigue. When a corpse turns up in his flat, he has to go on the run from both the police and a more sinister enemy, with the fate of nations upon his shoulders.

It’s all good blokey fun, although it is only fair to confirm that the book is as Buchan himself describes it – a dime novel, a shocker, a penny dreadful. Why it’s so often trotted out as a Great Classic I’m just not sure. But there are worse books, and at least it is (delightfully) short – a mere 100 pages, hooray!

So anyway, here’s an Amazon link.
I have had a copy for years which has somehow escaped all my periodic clearouts. (I can’t imagine it will escape too many more, though…)