This image is from the 1915 novel The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan. In the book, the protagonist (Richard Hannay) is a British man recently returned to London after living for a long time in Rhodesia. The book is set in 1914 just before the outbreak of W.W.I, and early in the story, Hannay is approached by a man who claims to know of an anarchist plot to assassinate the Greek premier who is currently visiting London in an effort to destabilize Europe. He also claims to be being followed by German spies who are trying to kill him to keep him from exposing them. Hannay ends up letting the man (Franklin Scudder) stay at his flat, but comes home one night to find the building being watched by a shady looking character, and his guest inside, stabbed to death. The prime suspect in the murder, Hannay goes on the run, heading for Scotland, trying to avoid being arrested by the police while proving his innocence and exposing the German spies, using Scudder's notes which refer mysteriously to the thirty-nine steps. In the shown illustration, Hannay attempts to throw off the police by boarding a train headed in the opposite direction from where he actually wants to go and then jumps off between stations.
This image is from the first Sherlock Holmes novel A Study In Scarlet, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1886. In it, Holmes is called in by the police to investigate the murder of a man whom he concludes was killed by poison. Later, at the site of a secondary murder, a pill box is found which contains only two pills. Holmes and Watson return to Baker Street with Inspectors Lestrade and Gregson in tow and test the pills on an old, sickly terrier who is currently in residence there. The first pill has no effect at all, but after eating the second pill the unfortunate animal dies. Holmes realizes that the murderer for some reason made his crime a gamble or turn of fate... his victim had the option of choosing either the harmless pill or the poisonous one. Holmes must discover who is committing these murders and why.
This is an image from Laura Ingalls Wilder's 1935 book Little House On The Prairie. In it, the Ingalls family has moved to Kansas in the year 1868. Unbeknown to them, they've built their home next to an Osage hunting trail, which the hunters use on a regular basis. Charles Ingalls says that the Osage won't be a threat if they don't bother them, but Jack the dog doesn't get the memo. He takes a dim view of these strangers riding across his territory and early one morning plants himself threateningly in front of an Osage hunter on the trail. When Charles opens the door to go to the barn, the Osage looks at him and then points his gun at Jack. Charles hurries over and drags Jack off the trail and the hunter rides on. After that, Jack is put on a chain to keep him from getting himself- and the family- into trouble. I've chosen this particular picture to use because of the recent decision by the American Library Association to remove Laura Ingalls Wilder's name from its award for children's literature. Why? “Her works reflect dated cultural attitudes toward Indigenous people and people of color that contradict modern acceptance, celebration, and understanding of diverse communities,” I will have more to say on the A.L.A.'s decision at a later date but for now, in the inelegant but pithy words of a couple of fellow Canadians:
This image is from Robert Heinlein's 1958 science fiction novel Have Spacesuit- Will Travel. It was the last of Heinlein's "juveniles" and was nominated for a Hugo award the following year. In the novel, the protagonist Kip, a high school student, enters a competition to win an all-expense paid trip to the moon. Unfortunately, he comes in second and his prize is an old, decommissioned space suit. Though disappointed, Kip works at restoring the suit- he calls it Oscar-to working order. Needing money for college, Kip decides to sell Oscar but takes a good-bye night walk in the space suit, idly transmitting on Oscar's radio for fun. To his shock, he receives an answer from someone named "Peewee" and a space ship appears overhead, having homed in on his radio signal. A young girl in a space suit and a vaguely cat-like alien flee from the ship but are pursued by a hideous worm-faced alien who quickly captures both of them and Kip as well. Kip, still wearing Oscar, finds himself imprisoned on the ship and headed for outer space, along with Peewee the precocious preteen girl, and the gentle cat-like alien she calls the "Mother-thing".
This illustration is from a PG Wodehouse short story which forms two chapters of his 1923 collection The inimitable Jeeves- Comrade Bingo and Bingo Has A Bad Goodwood. This image is from a scene near the end of the story. Bingo has been masquerading as a radical in order to impress the father of the girl he's enamored of, because the man is the leader of a group of commies known as Red Dawn. After the Goodwood races, Bingo is giving a speech decrying the upper classes in general and his uncle, Lord Bittlesham, in particular. Suddenly, Comrade Butt (member of Red Dawn and rival for Charlotte's affections) leaps forward, pulls off Bingo's fake beard and exposes him as one of the hated aristocracy. Bingo responds by grabbing Butt by the throat and a knock-down-drag-out ensues until a nearby police officer intervenes and drags the two away. It later turns out that Jeeves, wanting to separate Bingo from Charlotte and her Red Dawn friends and relations, provided Comrade Butts with the information about his actual identity. It works.