The Irregular by H. B. Lyle
A Different Class of Spy

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Lyle’s descriptions of 1909 London are vivid; one can almost smell the coal smoke and the raw sewage. All in all, The Irregular is a compelling book, one to add to one’s reading list.
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

London 1909: The British Empire spans the globe, seen as an invulnerable imperial power--but in Russia, there is revolution in the wind; in Germany, an arms race; and in London, the streets are alive with foreign agents provocateur.

Vernon Kell, head of counterintelligence at the war office, wants to set up a Secret Service, an agency with a mandate to act domestically and abroad to protect the Empire, but to convince his political masters he needs proof of a threat. To find that proof, he needs an agent he can trust who is smart, ruthless, and able to blend in with the hoi polloi. The playing fields of Eton may produce good army and naval officers, but not men who can work undercover in a munitions factory that appears to be leaking secrets to the Germans . . .

As it happens, the man Kell needs is Wiggins. Trained as a child by Kell's old friend Sherlock Holmes--who organized a gang of urchin investigators known at 221B as the Baker Street Irregulars--Wiggins is a survivor: an ex-soldier with a talent for deduction perhaps second only to the Great Detective, as well as a cunning street fighter. "The best," says Holmes.

But Wiggins turns down the job--he "don't do official." Then his best friend, Bill, a constable with the London police, is killed by Russian anarchists, and Wiggins realizes that accepting the role of secret agent could give him the cover he needs to pursue revenge against Bill's killers.

Tracking down the Russian gang responsible for the murder and assembling a motley network of allies and informants in the process, Wiggins begins to unravel a deadly international conspiracy that reaches far beyond the munitions factory.
 

About H. B. Lyle

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Published November 7, 2017 by Quercus. 288 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Crime, History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Irregular
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Good
on Sep 17 2017

Sherlock Holmes’ delayed first appearance here is shrewdly calculated. Though Lyle’s debut novel is certainly an homage, it’s not a flat-footed imitation but a crisp, stylish spinoff.

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NY Journal of Books

Above average
Reviewed by D. R. Meredith on Nov 06 2017

Lyle’s descriptions of 1909 London are vivid; one can almost smell the coal smoke and the raw sewage. All in all, The Irregular is a compelling book, one to add to one’s reading list.

Read Full Review of The Irregular: A Different Cl... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books
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