The death of Professor Goodman is just the beginning of what quickly becomes an intricately tangled plot in this third installment of Sapper's Bulldog Drummond series. Veteran narrator Roy McMillan ratchets up the intensity with his spot on performance, leading Bulldog from the suspicious murder of the professor to a run-in with his arch-nemesis, Carl Peterson. As with the previous Bulldog books, The Third Round is one twist and surprise right after another and will keep listeners guessing until the very end.
In The Third Round, the third of Sapper’s Bulldog Drummond stories, Hugh Drummond has lost none of his trademark wit, charm, and confidence. In investigating the mysterious death of Professor Goodman, who holds the key to a formula for creating diamonds, he uncovers a menacing plot involving the Metropolitan Diamond Syndicate and, inevitably, his seemingly indestructible enemy, the sinister Carl Peterson.
Unexpected twists and turns are rife, and the climax sees a thrilling boat chase that makes for fantastic listening. Roy McMillan’s narration is sparkling and witty, the perfect match for Sapper.
I don’t know if it was a conscious artistic decision, but it works. In this, the third Bulldog Drummond adventure, as in the previous two, Roy McMillan gives our arch villain, Carl Peterson/ the Comte de Guy / Mr. Blackton / Mr. Robinson the voice of James Mason in North by Northwest. When he believes the game is all in his hands, our villain is quite as suave, composed and decorous as Mr. Mason in Mr. Hitchcock’s classic. The effect is delicious.
The fact that I’m leading with praise for our narrator should give you some idea of how good this story is. Someone said that criticizing a P. G. Wodehouse story was like taking a spade to a soufflé; I feel much the same about Sapper. A perfect blend of over-the-top criminal schemes and humorous, almost swashbuckling understatement, this is escapism of a high order.
It's only a guess, but I think I know why Honey says this installment is not quite as good as the previous two adventures: it’s not as crowded with incident. The tempo of the action is far less frenetic. Fewer of Drummond’s old comrades get involved. Though she’s mentioned several times, we don’t even see the lovely Phyllis, Drummond’s wife. But there are compensations. For example, Sapper rises to the writerly challenge of bringing Drummond and Peterson together again. For much of the book neither man realizes who opposes him—a situation I enjoyed immensely and which no doubt helped along the plausibility of a third engagement. At one moment—it’s only a moment, but it’s revealing—Drummond and Peterson even come to see eye-to-eye. And the scientific breakthrough that sets the whole story rolling presents all sorts of criminal possibilities, all of them fully appreciated and pursued by Mr. Peterson.
Sapper is at the top of his game, as is the talented Roy McMillan. My only caution is that, to get the maximum enjoyment from these stories, start at the beginning with book 1: Bulldog Drummond. Though but loosely connected, these stories do build on one another.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Bulldog Drummond stories are always good fun, and Roy McMillan is a fabulous narrator for them. You can tell that he gets into the spirit of the story, understanding that it is a lighthearted adventure. While this one is entertaining, it is not of the same caliber as Bulldog Drummond or The Black Gang. Still highly recommended!
2 of 3 people found this review helpful