Saturday, August 27, 2011

The female of the species

By Sapper

The fifth Bulldog Drummond novel, originally published in 1928, is the first novel I have read, featuring Drummond, since the mid 1990's. For some reason, although I loved the interwar ambience of the first four (which I have gathered in a single volume), I never bothered to look for any sequels until now. Turns out there are fifteen of them, so I shall look forward to reading a few more, though more as a consequence of the first four than of this one.

'The female of the species' doesn't really live up to its predessesors, and this is almost certainly due to the fact that, unlike them, the story is narrated by a character in the book. The fact that the principle antagonist of the first books is missing (having been killed off) doesn't help either, nor does the fact that the premise of this story rests on a plan of revenge hatched by the dead man's insane lover. The story is incredibly parochial, even for a novel of this character, and the author's attempt at a serious femme fatale is laughably inept. Irma made for quite a sly and mysterious side kick in the previous novels and its rather a shame to see the character so poorly misused.

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