Kim H Krisco
Sherlock Holmes’s relationship with the band of street Arabs known at the Baker Street Irregulars has largely been untold . . . until now. Holmes sometimes relied upon a gang of adolescent boys and girls who he recruited from the slums of London. Indeed, some of Sherlock Holmes’s most bizarre cases involved the irregulars: a hideous execution of a man who had been strapped to the barrel of cannon, a fiend who hoped he could live forever on the blood of others, and the largest jewel robbery in Britain. Irregular Lives begins in post WWI London, when Holmes visits a mysterious photography exhibit that has him recall adventures with Wiggins, Ugly, Kate, and other members of his urban army. But, his reminiscences are merely a prelude to a thrilling adventure that begins when a jolly reunion with the irregulars abruptly erupts in a terrible tragedy. If you were ever curious about how Holmes shaped and changed the lives of the irregulars, and how they transformed his life . . . then, this is the book for you.
The Baker Street Irregulars are street children employed by Sherlock Holmes as intelligence agents. They appear in various Holmes stories (including A Study In Scarlet and The Sign of the Four). In Irregular Lives Holmes revisits the ‘Irregulars’ as they are as adults in 1919.
Now retired and in their sixties, Holmes and Watson are set a new adventure, with a few old acquaintances. The story engages, Krisco knowns the characters and his historical research feels authentic without being showy.
Called away from his cottage, Holmes follows up a telegram to attend an evening exhibition of photography. Pictures on the walls bring back memories we read as flashbacks. Individual stories are shown as we revisit the Baker Street Irregulars, and discover how Holmes met Wiggins the dip (pickpocket), Archie and the rest. As kids they would help Holmes, and with their eyes and ears to the streets and slums they proved useful aids. This assistance is recalled by Holmes who shows a side to his personality rarely shown: that of concern and care for individuals.
Holmes wonders who put the exhibition on. Then there’s a re-meeting of the old ‘Irregulars’. More questions arise about those present and initially missing from the get together. Wiggins, for example, a man of Irish descent, seems to have become a fugitive. Then there’s a mystery as to how Archie has made his money.
Hidden loot, tragedy, double-crossing, kidnapping, dubious arms, and a brush with Moriarty (of sorts) test Holmes and Watson who call on Mycroft at the War office for help. Basil Zaharoff is a fine addition to the canon’s bad guys and there’s enough of the returning cast to keep fans happy.
The aftermath of WWI and the Easter Rising in Ireland provide the backdrop, the streets of London the familiar setting. The game is afoot.
About Kim H Krisco:
Born in Chicago, USA. Krisco is the author of three books on leadership in addition to his Sherlock Holmes adventures. Sherlock Holmes-The Golden Years and Irregular Lives are from MX Publishing.