Although Sapper’s character Bulldog Drummond was extremely popular in novels and on the stage in the 1920’s, in the 1930’s and 1940’s Drummond was best known through film and radio. In the transition from novels to radio and film, Drummond was transformed from a somewhat snobbish retired British officer to a suave gentleman. Indeed, most Americans who remember Bulldog Drummond will not remember him from the novels, which were read primarily in England.
Bulldog Drummond was a continuation of the tradition of the gentleman sleuth, called in by clients or friends to solve a murder, disappearance, or robbery—all in the tradition of Sherlock Holmes. In fact, Sapper’s fiction was a mainstay of The Strand magazine, the same magazine where the Holmes stories regularly appeared. Fast-paced and well-plotted, Sapper’s novels were aimed at the same public that took to the Holmes series. Today this kind of entertainment seems tame, and the social prejudices of those days, very prominent in the Drummond novels, are judged unacceptable by many critics.