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Sapper - Bulldog Drummond



(Herman) Cyril McNeile MC (1888 - 1937) was a British author, who published under the pen name Sapper.  He was one of the most successful British popular authors of the Interwar period; his principal character was Bulldog Drummond.
It is thought that McNeile's first work was published before the First World War, but this is difficult to verify as serving officers in the British Army were not permitted to publish under their own names except during their half-pay sabbaticals, leading to many works being published under pseudonyms such as McNeile's "Sapper."
He is mainly remembered as the author of the ten Bulldog Drummond books, the first of which was published in 1920. These brought him public recognition and considerable financial success. The first book was adapted for the stage and produced, to great success, at Wyndham's Theatre during the 1921-1922 season.  The film rights to the 1929 Bulldog Drummond film are reputed to have earned McNeile $750,000 However, the bulk of his work was in the form of short stories that were published in various popular monthly magazines. He specialized in the twist in the tail and many of his stories upended the reader's expectations in the final paragraph, sometimes in the final few sentences. Most of his books were short story collections.
Definition of a Sapper: (1)  a military engineer who digs trenches or undermines fortifications; (2) a military engineer who lays or detects and disarms mines
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Bulldog Drummond is a British fictional character, created by "Sapper", a pseudonym of Herman Cyril McNeile, and the hero of a series of novels published from 1920 to 1954.
The Bulldog Drummond stories follow Captain Hugh "Bulldog" Drummond, D.S.O., M.C., a wealthy former WWI officer of the fictional His Majesty's Royal Loamshire Regiment, who, after the First World War, spends his new-found leisure time as a private detective. He places an advertisement in the local newspaper:  “Demobililsed Officer finding peace incredibly tedious would welcome diversion. Legitimate if possible; but crime of a humorous description, no objection. Excitement essential.”
The character is partly based on McNeile's friend Gerard Fairlie, who carried on writing Drummond books after McNeile's death.
Bulldog Drummond undoubtedly had influences on pulp heroes, notably Doc Savage. Like Savage, Drummond was a muscular man with a group of followers who helped him in his adventures. But unlike him Drummond was not raised to fight crime, was not a doctor, was not a super-scientist, and did not use advanced technology. Doc Savage had a clinic upstate and used brain surgery to do the job.
In The Black Gang, Drummond and his men imprison a collection of saboteurs on a Scottish island under the command of a sergeant-major, who institutes a "boarding-school" regime of physical work and exercise—a precursor of the "short, sharp shock" treatment advocated by some commentators for criminals.
Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, acknowledged that Drummond was an influence on Bond.


1.  Bulldog Drummond - Sapper (Colonel. H.C. McNeile M.C)

This Audio is the first of the Bulldog Drummond stories.
‘Sapper’, the pseudonym of Colonel. H.C. McNeile M.C. was one of the most popular English writers of thrillers between the two world wars. And Hugh (Bulldog) Drummond was his most popular leading character. This book, the first of the series, is of its time. Opinions are expressed which would not pass muster today and the books are strongly laced with jingoism, racial stereotypes and hostile references to foreigners. Naturally all the villains are masters of disguise and invariably put off murdering the hero until later whist they think of something absolutely beastly. Nevertheless the story is a good one and well told.

2.  The Assembly Trench by 'Sapper' (2nd story from Short Story Collection # 48)

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