The Top Five Best Bulldog Drummond Novels For Those Who Want A Truly Classic Spy Series

bulldog drummond 2

Bulldog Drummond was a hardboiled detective who paved the way for a range of private eye and spy characters. The character is credited as being the inspiration for James Bond.

H.C. McNeile, who published under the name Sapper, the author behind Bulldog Drummond, was a serving army officer who as such was not supposed to publish fiction. He did so under a pseudonym to avoid detection and created one of the most celebrated detectives of his lifetime.

His protagonist Bulldog Drummond is a talented but reckless former solider who seeks adventure by initially placing an advert in the paper. The response he replies to leads him on a thrilling chase after a dastardly villain. He is always accompanied by a band of merry-men who are of the same breed: former soldiers seeking adventure and glory. Together they solve a range of kidnappings, murders and thefts. Due to their popularity, more stories were written by other authors after McNeile’s death in 1937.

The series resonated with readers partially due to its thrilling nature. Readers were able to escape their mundane lives in favour of this exaggerated world in which Bulldog Drummond, the epitome of what McNeile and the media in general at the time saw as good manhood, always comes out on top. He always wins through his bravery, friendship, honesty and honour. He exhibits all the traits that people at the time wanted, whilst the villains were always untruthful, devious and often represented large wealthy organisations which were shown to be corrupt. By making his stories incredibly binary the author was able to create a them vs us scenario in each tale which resonated with the reading public at the time.

McNeile’s books were immensely popular during his day, and have been portrayed on film by a vast number of actors, but in recent years their popularity has cooled. In part this is because of the author’s occasional anti-Semitic and racist messages, and in another part because the detective market has since moved away from a focus on hardboiled detectives. It is my belief that a revival is definitely needed. The messages mentioned previously should definitely be taken as relics of their time so that modern readers can appreciate the unique nature of these incredible books. Five of my favourites are listed below, enjoy!

5. The Final Count: Featuring the demise of Drummond’s villainous nemesis, The Final Count is as thrilling as they come. With the inventor of a powerful chemical weapon missing, Drummond sets out to find him and ensure that his technology doesn’t get into the wrong hands. This is a really great thrilling adventure that makes for a great introduction to Drummond.

4. The Return of Bulldog Drummond: The seventh book in the series combines a country house mystery with McNeile’s standard conspiracy thriller as Drummond, staying at Merridale Hall, receives a number of unusual visitors, each with their own story to tell. Drummond has to figure out who’s telling him the truth and just what is going on in order to put a stop to a horrendous miscarriage of justice.

3. The Female of the Species: Set directly after the demise of Drummond’s arch enemy, this novel follows the exploits of his mysterious lover and partner in crime, who swears revenge on Drummond and his gang. She abducts Drummond’s wife and leads him on a hunt across England to the scene of the final battle, a deserted manor house full of traps and dangers that only the intrepid Bulldog Drummond and his men can navigate.

2. Challenge: Bulldog Drummond and his friend Ronald Standish are summoned to learn of the death of a colleague who was on the way to undertake a secret mission when he mysteriously died. There is no sign of any wound or injury, yet the fit and healthy man died in his cabin on board a boat which also contained a renowned millionaire who was on an uncomfortable and needless journey. As the pair delves deeper they discover a variety of hidden secrets that shed light on the demise of their friend.

1. Bulldog Drummond: The best book is, as I very often say, the ideal place to start in any series, and this is definitely the case here. Bulldog Drummond is a gripping tale of action and adventure that leaves the reader under no illusion as to why these books earned themselves many long series of films between the 1920s and the 1960s.


There’s Still Time To Enter! Win A Signed Copy of Nicola Avery’s Within The Silence!

Nicola avery books

There’s still plenty of time to enter my competition to win one of 5 signed copies of Within The Silence by the amazing Nicola Avery. All you need to do to is comment on this post letting me know why you want to read this thrilling tale of secrets and the lengths people will go to keep them.

The winners will be announced on 23rd April so get commenting! Good Luck!

The Monsoon Ghost Image Review: A Slick Globe-Trotting Thriller


Tom Vater’s latest novel is a slick globetrotting adventure, which combines the best aspects of a thriller with a traditional private eye adventure.

The third instalment in the Detective Maier series features the story of a missing photographer who dies in Thailand, only for his wife to discover he is alive and well. She hires Detective Maier to find out more about what’s going on and uncover the truth about her husband’s supposed death.

Quickly Detective Maier uncovers a huge conspiracy involving a plastic surgeon, hookers and the Moonstone Ghost image itself: the victim’s final photograph, which turns out to be incredibly dangerous. Detective Maier turns from the hunter to the prey as soon as he uncovers the photo and he is soon running around the world in search of the truth.

Working with his trusty sidekick Mikhail Detective Maier is in a race against time to find out what’s going on and beat a host of formidable foes including the CIA, a murderous doctor and a range of private international villains. Together the pair set out on a quest to find out the secrets behind the photo and whether or not the photographer who took it is dead or not.

Featuring an ensemble cast of characters from across the thriller spectrum, including an evil doctor, the CIA and of course the protagonist and his accomplice, the novel moves quickly so that readers are constantly enthralled by the ever-evolving plot. Vater keeps his reader hooked from the off, and Detective Maier is constantly on the move exploring new clues and checking out new leads, so there’s never any pause in the action for the reader to get bored in.

In all, The Monsoon Ghost Image is a tantalising thriller that really gets under your skin. With memorable characters, gritty dialogue and a fast-paced plot, this book really does have it all.


Giveaway! Win A Signed Copy of Nicola Avery’s Within The Silence!

Within the Silence

Following my interview with Nicola Avery I am proud to announce that I have 5 copies of Within the Silence to give away, each personally signed by the author herself!!

To win yourself a signed copy all you need to do is comment on this post letting me know why you want to read this thrilling tale of secrets and the lengths people will go to keep them. The winners will be announced on 23rd April! Good Luck!


Nicola Avery Interview: “I can’t tell you exactly where the ideas for my stories come from”

nicola avery

As a follow-up to my review of her brilliant novel Within The Silence I interview Nicola Avery to learn more about her work and how she came to start writing it.

Tell me about how you came to define your writing style. What drew you towards thriller writing?

I think my writing style developed from a need to create a dialogue with my readers. I tend to write about what I know, think, believe, or have been told. I explore subjects that make me cry, make me angry, make me question, hoping that my voice is always honest and open. Some of my subject matter is brave or controversial and requires the reader to listen, watch and engage with an open mind, exploring their own emotions and views, allowing the plot and characters to develop. I don’t judge in my writing, I leave that to my readers.

Both my books are very different – Whispered Memories is a mixed genre, multi-dimensional love story where a tragedy in the past (the premise of a past existence) and present day collide, as repeating patterns threaten lives once again.

Within The Silence is also a mixed genre, but a darker thriller with a paranormal twist, a race against time to stop an atrocity, where a love so powerful crosses even the ‘ultimate boundary of death’ to keep a love one safe.

As a reader I have always been drawn to thrillers, not frightening horror type, but more psychological, dark, ‘bad people’ led thrillers. That’s possibly why both my books are littered with murders, intrigue, hidden agendas, sadness, brutality, and tragedy… but lifted with the truth that ‘love’ is the final answer.

What is your background and how did you get in to writing professionally?

My father is a published author, my mother a ballet dancer so the artistic seam runs deep within my psyche. I travelled extensively, in and around Australia, returning back to the UK as a divorced single mother and carving a professional career in the corporate world of finance.

As soon as my daughter reached eighteen I began to follow my own interests, studying and qualifying as a professional hypnotherapist and past life/regression therapist in order to understand the impact that the past has on an individual in their lifetime. The subject matter on past existences was fascinating, the findings although chiefly unproven – persuasive. I needed to share, hence my first published book.

I write now about things that inspire me, move me or allow my mind to literally ‘free-fall’.   Whether these latest stories will go to print remains the question, but as long as there are readers that like my writing, I will find the time to create and put pen to paper.

Where do you find your inspiration? Are there any particular places or incidents you draw on when you find yourself with writer’s block?

I can’t tell you exactly where the ideas for my stories come from. They are in my head and grow in the telling, becoming more layered, more intricate, and more involved as the stories develop. My editor has to cut chapters and pages from each finished manuscript with the cry of ‘too much!’ I’m also asked how do I know about some of the things I write about, especially the more ‘unusual’ or ‘unpleasant’. Research is essential, a vivid imagination and the courage to tackle something that might be seen as sensitive, unbelievable, unnatural, or unexplainable, hoping I will always convey the darker or difficult with compassion and sensitivity.

I treat ‘writers block’ like a virus. We will all get it one day – for me its natures way of saying enough – take a break – breath again…

I ‘word dump’ if I feel the guilt to write during these periods, work on an alternative project. I normally have two on the go so I can dip in to one on the back burner when I feel pressure from another. That way I always have an outline for the future, for another book (guilt is one of the writers curses, the need to write, whatever). Sometimes a break from your work is beneficial as it also allows you to take a step back. Also, ‘life’ does get in the way of writing and we should understand this. When this happens to me – I read – a lot. It’s my chance to go into another author’s world, soak up their wording, plot and characters, and enjoy their ‘place’, like a perfect holiday: it works for me.

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If you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, on a writing project, who would it be and why?

Amelia Mary Earhart would be my first choice as a collaborator. I’d like to write her story, her life from her perspective. She was an American aviator pioneer and author, the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Married, but with no children of her own, she disappeared in 1937 flying with her navigator Fred Noonan over the Pacific ocean en route to Howland Island from Lae, Papa New Guinea, in an attempt to circumnavigate the globe.

There is still a mystery as to what really happened to her, her navigator, the plane, where she landed or crashed, and how she met her fate. The mystery of her disappearance would be a fascinating detective story, but weave in her views and past battles as a woman in a man’s world, the choices she had to make, the risks she took, the fear she had to conquer, her experiences as a nurse’s aid during WW1 in a Canadian hospital, her experiences as an author, and her own personal lessons in life, her loves, her hates, then the project takes on real colour.

Spin that with fiction and conspiracy theories then the book takes on a different edge, a fiction book with several potential endings. Her capture by the Japanese for spying, the unknown bones found on an Island, the sunken plane, the mystery woman with a new life and new face, her murder, or the truth; what really happened to Amelia Earhart?

Sadly we may never uncover that, but if she allowed, I could add a twist to the book project and add in a paranormal element-perhaps she could then tell us!

What do you read yourself and how does this influence your writing?

I read as much as possible and can be wooed by a beautiful cover. I love thrillers, mysteries, crime, psychological thrillers and books that cross and mix genres. A ghostly twist to a love story is a bonus for me. As a result of my reading needs I’m writing the kind of books I want to read; mixed genres, murders, crimes, mysteries, thwarted love, reincarnates, ghosts, justifiable retributions, rather like a box of chocolates with no sweet index, where there’s something in it for everyone, and each bite is a surprise.

Do you have any projects coming up that you are particularly excited about?

Yes, a children’s book – but with a difference – going back to the days of Hans Christian Andersen where story telling and children’s tales were filled with love, beauty and pain, where morals are taught and all actions good or bad had consequences. This is a challenge for me as I’m finding it very emotional to write and the intended age group keeps growing – to date it’s for children aged 9 to 90 years! Have quite a following and its not finished yet!

Are there any new books or writers that you are looking forward to coming up?

I read at least three book a month and have on occasions been surprisingly disappointed by a ‘well known’ author’s much publicised book, so now tend now to wait for the buzz to die down before purchasing and reading. I always finish a book whatever my opinion and never give a bad review, after all there is no ‘one size fits all’ in the world of books; readers views are varied and personal.

I do now have copies of Kate Mosse’s The Burning Chambers to read and Kate Atkinson’s Transcription..

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Yes – a huge thank you to Hannah for inviting me to take part in this interview and to all the other amazing book bloggers out there, that are throwing authors a ‘life raft’ in this bumpy sea of book publishing and supporting us as we paddle.

Thanks Nicola it’s been great to hear your thoughts!



The Secret Child Review: Another Tense Thriller From Caroline Mitchell

The Secret Child

Following on from Caroline Mitchell’s gripping novel Truth and Lies comes the second in the DI Amy Winter series The Secret Child. Having reviewed the first in the series previously I was keen to take part in Mitchell’s latest blog tour to find out more about the second outing for this dogged and troubled detective.

In the follow-up to the thrilling first novel in her series, which will hopefully be a long one, Winter is still reeling from the news that she is the daughter of a pair of sadistic serial killers and the horrible experiences of her previous case.

Despite this she has no time to grieve as she is thrust straight into another in the form of an investigation into a horrific abduction with a sadistic twist. When another child is snatched Winter faces a race against time which sends her straight back to the one person she wished she’d never have to speak to again: her serial killer mother.

Showcasing her strong characterisation skills and her unique ability to create engaging emotional scenes Mitchell brings this frightening tale to life in her latest novel. Her characters are evolved and emotionally entangled without being annoyingly sappy, and the reader is quickly immersed in the entwined tales of the kidnap and Winter’s relationship with her psychotic mother.

Being a police officer gives Winter access to the case in full, as well as access to a myriad of other insider information and as such her manipulative mother wants a quid pro quo in return for advice on the topic she knows most about: the mind of a depraved child kidnapper.

Having enjoyed both novels I desperately hope that there’s more where this came from. I loved Truth and Lies and The Secret Child was just as thrilling and gritty, so hopefully Mitchell will bring her talent for tension and passion for the police procedural back in the future!



Harry’s Quest Review: A Shockingly Good Thriller

Harrys Quest

Having interviewed Sydney based author and former police detective A. B. Patterson last year, I was pleased to be able to review the second in his series about his dogged private investigator Harry Kenmare, Harry’s Quest.

A private eye novel with real grit and drive, Harry’s Quest sees readers reunite with investigator Harry Kenmare as he seeks to right the world’s wrongs and achieve his revenge on a world that has taken a great deal from him. Drawing on Patterson’s experience as a policeman, the novel is gripping and features a host of memorable characters.

The sequel to Harry’s World, like its predecessor Harry’s Quest consists of five ‘parts’, which each act as a component part of the whole to create an interesting narrative. Gritty and spellbinding, the novel combines the same short, sharp sentence structure and witty dialogue that made the first novel so popular and adds an extra element of danger.

In this second outing for Harry Kenmare, the private detective is now inundated with work as the elite seek him out to do their dirty work. He uses these jobs to finance his real focus; revenge on those who have wronged him in the past.

Having assembled a team, Harry uses them to extract his revenge and get back at the monsters that preyed on him and those he loved. Packed with sex and violence, the novel gives an eye-opening view of the nastier side of human nature and the motives that bring out the worst in people; money, power and sex.

Ultimately, Harry’s Quest is another cracking example of author A.B. Patterson’s expert storytelling as he takes his hardboiled investigator for another spin and lets him loose on the elite and the scandalous. Balance is the key here; Patterson gets it just right, with enough gore, grime and gentile backstabbing to have the reader coming back for more.