'Nuff said about the 39-steps; read the book. If I had written the 39-steps, I could have died without regret.
Buchan delved the emotional depths of strong, silent men, in the wild mystical motion of Greenmantle & in the static unshaken forces of endurance & will of Mr. Standfast. In these two tales, he brought the irresistible force & the immoveable object, the two opposing forces of nature, the storm & the rock, the Yin & the Yang, into being, in his writing.
Strangely, it is another, black, South African, the great Nelson Mandela, who typified in real life, the qualities of Buchan's fictional Boer, Peter Pienaar.
The three hostages was a cop-out, an afterthought, the dabbling of an artist who had reached the top of the mountain and was now relaxing & drawing pretty pictures for his grandchildren.