Sunday, June 24, 2007

Bulldog Drummond – A Tribute

I'm very fond of Sapper's (H. C. McNeile) character, Hugh 'Bulldog' Drummond. I like Drummond because he stands in opposition to the intellectual detective heroes such as Sherlock Holmes. Although far from an imbecile, Drummond doesn't conquer through superior intellect; he conquers through sheer British pluck and bulldog tenacity.

Sapper always poked fun at his own and his hero's intellectual capabilities, but he very astutely delineated the metaphysic at work undermining the Western world in general and England in particular in his novels. Drummond is always up against some capitalist who uses the radical dregs of society, letting them think they are accomplishing their purposes, to destroy the old order. Of course, the two-fisted, ale-drinking Drummond always defeats the capitalist-radical coalitions. But somewhere along the line Drummond must have left us, because the sinister coalition has triumphed throughout the Western world. Infinitely more than we need Joe DiMaggio, we need Bulldog Drummond. So put out an S. O. S., calling Bulldog Drummond.

The 'Bulldog Drummond' books:
1. Bulldog Drummond
2. The Black Gang
3. The Third Round
4. The Final Count
5. The Female of the Species
6. Temple Tower
7. The Return of Bulldog Drummond
8. Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back
9. Bulldog Drummond at Bay
10. Challenge

The first four books all deal with Drummond's battles against the evil genius Carl Peterson. The fifth, my favorite, deals with Drummond's battle against the black widow mistress of Carl Peterson, Irma. This book features the most politically incorrect ending in all of literature. The first five books should be read in order; the other books need not be.

After McNeile's death in 1937, his friend Gerard Fairlie kept the Drummond character going, but I have not read the Fairlie books, so I cannot say whether or not they are up to the original ones.