Wednesday, April 1, 2015
The Baker Street Irregulars: Alive and Well
The Baker Street irregulars are a gang of street Arabs whom Holmes employs from time to time to aid in his investigations. This back-street brigade serves to gather information, find missing people, track individuals, deliver communications, etc.
This urban army appears in the first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study In Scarlet. They also have their own chapter in a subsequent novel, The Sign of the Four. They reappear some years later in The Adventure of the Crooked Man.
In the early stories, the irregulars are led by an older boy called Wiggins, whom Holmes paid a shilling per day (plus expenses), with a guinea prize (worth one pound and one shilling) for a vital clue. Of course, the irregulars are often included in various movies, television programs, and Sherlock Holmes pastiches. Indeed, they play a prominent role in several of the stories in my new collection – Sherlock Holmes – The Golden Years. However, as my stories take place nearly twenty years after their last appearance, the the irregulars in my stories are led by a sixteen-year old boy named Archie, who has a tag-along little brother names Benjie.
As a writer, I find the irregulars fascinating. They create a poignant counterpoint to the richer society that is the focus of most of Doyle’s stories. Also, kids are just fun to write. They inject energy into a story. Having alleged this, you will not be surprised to learn that am planning to have the irregulars play a prominent role in most of my future stories. Indeed, I recently submitted a story called Blood Brothers for a new anthology of Sherlock Holmes stories being created to support the The Undershaw Trust’s efforts to save the Doyle home in Surrey, UK. This collection of about fifty original stories will debut sometime this fall – being published by MX Publishing in London.
I will alert you again when this fantastic anthology, which is edited by David Marcum, will be available. It is definitely one book you will want to have in your collection. Meanwhile, if you haven’t already done so, check our Sherlock Holmes the Golden Years – available ON AMAZON and most every on-line and main street book store.