Wednesday, July 6, 2016
The irregulars: The Untold Story
Within the 60 Holmes in the original canon, the urban army known at the Baker Street irregulars appear only three times: In two novels, A Study In Scarlet and The Sign of the Four, and later in The Adventure of the Crooked Man.
In these stories, the irregulars were led by an 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. It was clear that there were many boys within the irregulars, and possible a girl, but none of the others were distinguished in Doyle’s writing. As an emerging Holmes scholar, it seemed likely to me that the irregulars played a larger role in Holmes’s investigations, and is life -- particularly as Holmes aged. In my next book: Irregular Lives: The Untold Story of Sherlock Holmes’s Urban Army, I explore the singular adventures that Holmes and the irregulars shared over several decades.
You will, of course, find Wiggans, but also the other, previously unnamed members to street Arabs like Ugly, Snape, Archie, Kate, Ruck, and Tessa -- Wiggans’s little sister. This book will wrap a series of vignettes in a larger tale that unfolds just after WWI, when Holmes is 65 years old.
Irregular Lives: The Untold Story of Sherlock Holmes’s Urban Army not only makes for some exciting mysteries and adventures, but also gives the reader a peak at what was called “Darkest England”-- the one million desperately poor residents of London in 1919. These retched people comprised 15 percent of the city’s population. Ironically, today London’s poor represent an even greater portion of the population. Not much progress in one hundred years.
My hope is that this newest book will be out in the fall. In the meanwhile, if you haven’t already done so, you might check out Sherlock Holmes the Golden Years – on AMAZON where you can get a peak at some of the irregulars who will reappear in my new book. BTW: Sherlock Holmes the Golden Years is now available as a wonderful new audiobook!