Richard Hannay has just returned to England after years in South Africa and is thoroughly
bored with his life in London. But then a murder is committed in his flat, just days after a
chance encounter with an American who had told him about an assassination plot which could
have dire international consequences. An obvious suspect for the police and an easy target
for the killers, Hannay goes on the run in his native Scotland where he will need all his
courage and ingenuity to stay one step ahead of his pursuers.
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Penguin Press Designer Corali Bickford-Smith on Penguin Reds' Boys Own Books - The Thirty-Nine Steps, The Man Who Was Thursday, The Riddle of the Sands, The Lost World, She and The Prisoner of Zenda.
I wanted the covers to have action-packed illustrations, and to hark back to the golden age of adventure books. I did a lot of research, particularly in the London Library, getting a feel of books from the period. One book I found brilliant for lettering inspiration was Nineteenth century ornamented Typefaces by Nicolete Gray. I made the decision to control the use of colour to give the series a strong identity, while each cover individually contains elements - particularly the typography - appropriate to the time it was first published.
There is an unashamed nostalgia about them, though they aren't facsimilies of old books - they are designed to have a freshness and appeal for younger readers encountering these stories for the first time, as well as for their parents' and grandparents' generations. I spent a lot of time reading each book and picked out the action scenes I thought would make strong illustrations. Then I drew roughs and passed these over to different illustrators and got a lettering artist on board to recreate the type I had found. I really enjoyed working on this project and I think that comes through in the finished product.