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Huntingtower

(Dickson McCunn #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  583 ratings  ·  66 reviews
This modern fairy-tale is also the gripping adventure story about Dickson McCunn, a respectable, newly retired grocer who finds himself in the thick of a plot involving the kidnapping of a Russian princess held prisoner in the rambling mansion, Huntingtower. Here, Buchan introduces some of his best-loved characters and paints a remarkable picture of a man rejuvenated by ...more
Paperback, 170 pages
Published November 3rd 2006 by Hard Press (first published 1922)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  583 ratings  ·  66 reviews


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Cathy
Huntingtower introduces readers to Dickson McCunn, a middle-aged Glasgow grocer newly retired from his successful business. With his wife away at a health spa, he finds himself at somewhat of a loose end following his retirement. ‘It was the end of so old a song, and he knew no other tune to sing. He was comfortably off , healthy, free from any particular cares in life, but free too from any particular duties.’ He decides to take a walking tour of the Highlands. Early in his travels, he reaches ...more
Lobstergirl
Jan 19, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: L'Carpetron Dookmarriot
Shelves: fiction

Both the Russian Revolution and the Great War lurk in the close-background of Huntingtower, set in a Scotland of 1920 and published in 1922, but there's always a subdued jolliness and sense of well-being in Buchan's adventure novels that mitigates whatever menace he introduces. However grim he tries to make his modern fairy tale, it will never be Grimm.

Dickson McCunn, retiring from his fancy grocery store establishment at 55, decides to go on a brisk walk in southwest Scotland while his wife
...more
Allison Tebo
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: k, mary-shelf, thrillers
One of the best books I've read this year.

RTC.
K.
Jan 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dorcas
I gave up on this at 30%. It's a strange little book.

It was a clever, interesting story at first, but as the dialect got broader and broader I got fed up with it. Having lived in England and having had Scottish friends, as well as vacationing in various areas of Scotland (not even mentioning TV) I've heard my share of Scottish accents so it's not totally beyond me to understand dialect. But seriously, do we need to spell out every accented word? Surely we can get the idea of accented speech
...more
Greg
Dec 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adventure
I really dig Buchan for some reason. Great adventure stories with tons of period details (he seems to know every general, battle, and politician of the era). And that's despite the ridiculously out-of-date imperialist, colonial-era biases and stereotypes that he is mired in.

Still, these are quick, easy reads, with lots of fun and adventure. I love the idea of these British dudes going off to some colonial frontier to "make their pile" then coming back to live the good life for a while, and
...more
Eleanor
A rip-roaring adventure, marred by the ugliness of Buchan's anti-Semitism. The damsel in distress was pursued by people who wanted to get the jewels with which she had been entrusted. "But behind them were the Jews, and behind the Jews our unsleeping enemies." (page 120)

What I find really chilling about this quite unnecessary reference to Jewish people being cast as part of an evil conspiracy, is that it was perfectly acceptable and unremarkable to have it appear in a book published in 1922.
...more
Christopher Taylor
Aug 12, 2019 rated it liked it
This is the story of a Grocery magnate who retired, selling his business and now lives on the proceeds. His wife is on holiday at a spa, and he decides to go on a long walk across Scotland to give his life some more interest and variety.

On the walk he finds out much about himself, meets a somewhat annoying young man who fancies himself a poet, and eventually gets entangled in a strange situation involving a princess and some Bolsheviks.

The story is interesting in a way because the main character
...more
Jed Mayer
I didn't think Buchan was capable of writing a bad book, but this comes pretty close: preposterous, vague backstory, and tediously overwrought intrigue suspense make for a boy's own adventure fit only for the dimmest of lads.
Jay Rothermel
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Brilliant. No "Clubland heroism" here...
^
I first read this book many years ago after seeing a very good BBC production on TV. It’s a rollicking good adventure yarn. I then read it a couple of years ago on my Sony E-Reader; which was brilliant because in the Oxford English Dictionary pre-installed on my e-reader, I found definitions for all but one of the archaic Scots words that Buchan uses (and he uses a lot). That was a huge help; and I gained a lot from that increased understanding.

I like the typeface in this particular edition; the
...more
Michael Jones
3.5 Like I said, you could characterize this book by Paddington bear and his friends rescuing Anastacia.

The thing that is really neat is that the good guys do end up rescuing and saving the day, but they are humble and do the rescuing without some great need for vengeance or bravado.

Dixon is a very Paddington like character-- he makes the pace of the book quite slow because he dawdles and meanders. But his meanderings serve purpose: they provide social commentary on many tendencies in the modern
...more
K.V. Johansen
I've always enjoyed this story of the retired grocer who sets out on a walking holiday and finds himself allied with a cynical Modern poet and a gang of Glasgow street boys defending an exiled Russian princess from her enemies, but on my most recent revisiting of it, I found myself wondering whether Dickson might not have a small place in Bilbo's literary genes. Tolkien enjoyed Buchan, and the exultation of how middle-class British virtues underpin an enduring heroism, and the efforts of both ...more
Charles
Oct 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
A very enjoyable short read packed full of adventure and altruistic actions. The protagonist (a retired grocer taking a holiday in the Highlands) battles with his conscience, going against all he has abided by his whole life, in the name of justice, romance and euphoria. Buchan finds warmth in the darkest corners of an often barren and harsh land, through loyalty, valour and a good cup of tea!
Marts  (Thinker)
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
Better known for his drama, The Thirty Nine Steps and hero Richard Hannay, Buchan here introduces another hero, Dickson McCunn, who leads us through quite a thrilling adventure set near Carrick, Scotland...
Ellen Hamilton
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I knew that I was going to love this book even before I read it. John Buchan is a favourite author of mine, and I don't think I could ever be disappointed with his work.

When I found out that Dickson McCunn was a man aged past his fifties, I wondered uneasily about how the romance would be worked in. Then he met John Heritage, and I thought, "Aha! Here is material for romance." But Heritage was not the right type of person for a beautiful Russian princess, and I was in suspense until she
...more
James
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
To enjoy this short early 20th century ‘thriller’ you will have to do several things.
1. Remember that WW1 has just ended and that the UK is still hanging on to it’s empire while being petrified of the potential for communist revolution.
2. Accept class division that is nowadays totally unacceptable and turn a blind eye to occasional comments that may appear anti Semitic (Buchan was not an antisemite and in fact in other novels there are Jewish protagonists but he was ‘of his time’).
4. Accept
...more
Christine Dolan
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really loved this book. It was first published in 1922, and it could be described as a really jolly adventure. It's the story of a retired grocer, a poet, an old lady and a valiant band of street urchins, who rescue a Russian princess from the clutches of dastardly Russian villains. The book made me smile, with people dashing about on pushbikes, and doing things like using a trunk of home made scones as a decoy for a batch of priceless jewels. It is humorous and heartwarming, and the plot ...more
Anna Katharine
This is classic early 20th century action and adventure, with some of the cultural flaws inherent to the time (off-hand antisemitism & misogyny, etc.) I was impressed by the cast of characters, though- headed by a middle-aged grocer who finds himself thrust into intrigue and danger, it includes a competent and self-aware princess, a gang of street kids who save the day more than once, and an old Scots granny who plays a key role in many of the heroics. It's old-fashioned and a bit quaint, ...more
David Campton
An old fashioned "Boy's Own" tale of derring do, with the Bolsheviks being the villains on this occasion, although the setting is not some exotic foreign clime and the hero is a retired middle class grocer, giving it a different angle to other adventures of its time. However, the real stars of the show are the Gorbals Diehards, characters that are heroic in the pages of this book but who would have ended up with ASBOs these days.
Mike Briley
Nov 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had some difficulty in the beginning with the written expression of the scottish accents and some specialised local vocabulary. Once this mastered, however, this book was like a gem. Adventure literature at its best with just enough violence and no sex. It shows that a good story, well written and well paced doesn't need blood gore or sex! I'll be seeking out other works by John Buchan who I had heard about but never got round to reading.
Phil Gilvin
Sep 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Definitely of its time: the upstanding British shopkeeper fighting the nasty Bolshies. Also a little hamstrung by a lot of "Scotch" dialogue that we Sassenachs stumble over (maybe that was the idea). That said, it's the kind of "Boys' Own" adventure that would have enthralled me when I was about 10.
phil Bentley
Phil

A good story but one I must admit I struggled with due to the heavy Scottish accents a d they way it's written. Again it sets a good pace doesn't linger to much. Good characters. Go for it
PETER
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful

What a great storyteller, took me back to my school days when I first read the thirty nine steps, I was enthralled then by this great author and can't believe I've not read more by him.
So glad I have been reintroduced bk kindle to him.
Annie Weatherly-Barton
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dated of course but lovely book. Really enjoyed it. Ol' codger becoming a hero. Fab. Even tho a lot of Buchan's books are not PC and probably wouldn't be promoted these days, He still knew how to writer a good thriller.
Peer
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: good-reads
A Scottish adventure. This book has all what I expect from a Buchan story. True, the characters are a bit simplified, and as always the English are the best, but it is fun to read. Only the last part, at the end of the battle, it becomes a bit dull.
Jonathan Brown
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very well-written story about a poet, a businessman, and six "Boy Scouts" who band together to save a Russian princess from a forced marriage with a Bolshevik officer.
Scott Avery
Nov 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I say! John Buchan. jolly good
Alayne
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
After a very slow start this was an exciting story. The only problem for me was that most of the dialogue was written in "Scottish" and half the time I didn't have a clue what was being said!
Barbara
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
An amusing fairy tale of sorts set in the 1920s. The dear, retired grocer certainly found his share of adventures on his brisk trek! I listened to the Librivox version and Simon Evers handles the Scottish dialect admirably. After reading some of the reviews below, I realized I had missed some things about some of the characters. Listening for a 2nd time it made a lot more sense!
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John Buchan (1st Baron Tweedsmuir) was a Scottish novelist and public servant who combined a successful career as an author of thrillers, historical novels, histories and biographies with a parallel career in public life. At the time of his death he was Governor-General of Canada.

Buchan was educated at Glasgow and Oxford Universities. After a brief career in law he went to South Africa in 1902
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Other books in the series

Dickson McCunn (3 books)
  • Castle Gay (Dickson McCunn, #2)
  • The House of the Four Winds (Dickson McCunn #3)
“The eyes were of a color which he could never decide on, afterwards when he told the story he used to say they were the color of everything in Spring.” 5 likes
“He felt singularly light-hearted, and the immediate cause was his safety razor. A week ago he had bought the thing in a sudden fit of enterprise, and now he shaved in five minutes, where before he had taken twenty, and no longer confronted his fellows, at least one day in three, with a countenance ludicrously mottled by sticking-plaster.” 3 likes
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