H. C. McNeile

H. C. McNeile
Cyril McNeile
Born 28 September 1888
Bodmin, Cornwall
Died 14 August 1937
Pulborough, West Sussex
Pen name Sapper
Occupation Soldier, writer
Nationality British
Genres Thriller
Notable work(s) Bulldog Drummond

(Herman) Cyril McNeile MC (28 September 1888 - 14 August 1937[1]) was a British author, who published under the pen name Sapper.

He was one of the most successful British popular authors of the Interwar period; his principal character was Bulldog Drummond.

Contents

Biography

Cyril McNeile was born in 1888 at Bodmin in Cornwall. His father was Malcolm McNeile, a Captain in the Royal Navy and, at the time, governor of the naval prison at Bodmin.[2]

He was educated at Cheltenham College and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich.[2] He was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1907 and was sent to France in 1914 when World War I broke out. McNeile saw action at both the First and the Second Battle of Ypres. He displayed considerable bravery, was awarded the Military Cross and was mentioned in dispatches.[2]

It is thought that McNeile's first work was published before the First World War, but this is difficult to verify as serving officers in the British Army were not permitted to publish under their own names except during their half-pay sabbaticals, leading to many works being published under pseudonyms such as McNeile's "Sapper."[2] His first known published works were a series of short war stories based on his own experiences, published under the name Sapper in the Daily Mail and in The War Illustrated.[3]

These stories were immediately successful and later sold over 200,000 copies within a year when republished in book form. His writing caught the public mood at the time - it was grimly realistic enough to seem authentic, yet managed to conceal the horrific reality of trench warfare and life at the front line. Lord Northcliff, the owner of the Daily Mail, was so impressed by this writing that he attempted, but failed, to have McNeile released from the army so he could work as a war correspondent.[2] In 1919, McNeile resigned from the army with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and became a full-time author,[2] publishing his first novel, Mufti, in that year. In 1922, he moved to Sussex and lived there for the rest of his life.

He is mainly remembered as the author of the ten Bulldog Drummond books, the first of which was published in 1920. These brought him public recognition and considerable financial success. The first book was adapted for the stage and produced, to great success, at Wyndham's Theatre during the 1921-1922 season with Gerald du Maurier playing the main character.[4] The film rights to the 1929 Bulldog Drummond film are reputed to have earned McNeile $750,000[2] However, the bulk of his work was in the form of short stories that were published in various popular monthly magazines. At his peak, in the 1920s, he was the highest paid short story writer in the world.[5] He specialized in the twist in the tail and many of his stories upended the reader's expectations in the final paragraph, sometimes in the final few sentences. Most of his books were short story collections.

McNeile had married Peggy Baird-Douglas and had two sons. He was an unremittingly hearty man, who even his friend and collaborator Gerard Fairlie described as "not everybody's cup of tea". He died on 14 August 1937 at his home in Pulborough, West Sussex.[6] His funeral, with military honours, took place at Woking crematorium.[7]

Works

  • Sergent Michael Cassidy R.E (1915)
  • The Lieutenant and Others (1915)
  • Men, Women and Guns (1916)
  • No Mans Land (1917)
  • The Human Touch (1918)
  • Mufti (1919)
  • Bulldog Drummond (1920)
  • The Man in Ratcatcher (1921)
  • The Black Gang (1922)
  • The Dinner Club (1923)
  • Jim Maitland (1923)
  • The Third Round (1924)
  • Out of the Blue (1925)
  • Word of Honour (1926)
  • Jim Brent (1926)
  • The Final Count(1927)
  • Shorty Bill (1927)
  • John Walters (1927)
  • The Saving Clause (1927)
  • The Female of the Species (1928)
  • Temple Tower (1929)
  • The Finger of Fate (1930)
  • Tiny Carteret (1930)
  • The Island of Terror (1931)
  • The Return of Bull-Dog Drummond (1932)
  • Knock-Out (1933)
  • Ronald Standish (1933)
  • When Carruthers Laughed (1934)
  • Bull-Dog Drummond at Bay (1935)
  • Ask For Ronald Standish (1936)
  • Challenge (1937)

References

  1. ^ H. C. McNeile Biography Summary at www.bookrags.com
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Sapper". The Book and Magazine Collector (79). October 1990. 
  3. ^ "The Assembly Trench". The War Illustrated. 1918-03-16. http://www.greatwardifferent.com/Great_War/British_Front/Assembly_Trench_01.htm. 
  4. ^ "Dictionary of Literary Biography on Herman Cyril McNeile". http://www.bookrags.com/biography/herman-cyril-mcneile-dlb/. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  5. ^ Introduction to "Sapper - The Best Short Stories" J.M Dent, London, 1984
  6. ^ "Leut.-Colonel Cyril McNeile". The Times: p. 12. 1937-08-16. 
  7. ^ "Funeral and Memorial Services". The Times. 1937-08-20. 

External links

Online texts


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • McNeile Glacier — (63°54′S 59°26′W / 63.9°S 59.433°W / 63.9; 59.433) is a glacier flowing northward to the southeast side of Almond Point where it enters Charcot Bay, on the west side of …   Wikipedia

  • McNeile, Herman Cyril — vero nome di Sapper …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • Hugh McNeile — (also written M Neile) (July 18, 1795 January 28, 1879), was an Anglican churchman in Ireland.The younger son of Alexander McNeile (or McNeill), he was born at Ballycastle, County Antrim. He graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, in 1810. His… …   Wikipedia

  • H. C. McNeile — Herman Cyril McNeile Herman Cyril McNeile est un écrivain britannique né le 28 septembre 1888 à Bodmin et décédé le 14 août 1937. C était un auteur à succès durant l entre deux guerres qui publiait sous le pseudonyme de Sapper …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Herman Cyril McNeile — Pour les articles homonymes, voir MacNeille. Herman Cyril McNeile est un écrivain britannique né le 28 septembre 1888 à Bodmin et décédé le 14 août 1937. C était un auteur à succès durant l entre deux guerres qui publiait sous …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Bulldog Drummond — is a British fictional character created by Sapper, a pseudonym of Herman Cyril McNeile (1888 1937), in imitation of the hard boiled noir style detectives appearing in contemporary American fiction. The stories followed Captain Hugh Bulldog… …   Wikipedia

  • Bulldog Drummond — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Drummond (homonymie). Bulldog Drummond est un personnage de fiction britannique imaginé par l’écrivain Herman Cyril McNeile (1888 1937) dans une série de romans policier. Drummond est un capitaine vétéran de la… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Бульдог Драммонд — Эта статья содержит незавершённый перевод с иностранного языка. Вы можете помочь проекту, переведя её до конца. Если вы знаете, на каком языке написан фрагмент, укажите его в этом шаблоне …   Википедия

  • MacNeille — or McNeile may refer to:MacNeille*Tress MacNeille, American voice actor on The Simpsons and Futurama *Holbrook Mann MacNeille, American mathematicianMcNeile*H. C. McNeile, British author, who published under the pen name Sapper *Hugh McNeile,… …   Wikipedia

  • Bulldog Drummond (1929 film) — Infobox Film name = Bulldog Drummond caption = director = F. Richard Jones producer = Samuel Goldwyn writer = Herman C. McNeile (play) Sidney Howard (adaptation) Wallace Smith starring = Ronald Colman Claud Allister Lawrence Grant Montagu Love… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”