William Holmes is a troubleshooter for the British Prime Minister.
He holds no discernable title. He usually calls himself a simple civil servant when asked what he does for a living, although on a couple of rare occasions, he has admitted that he trouble-shoots problems the Prime Minister sees need attending. His office is a small room at 10 Downing Street but he can often be found walking any of the governmental corridors along Whitehall.
In his mid thirties, assumed since he is considered fairly young by most who deal with him but who did serve right after WWII in Europe ferreting out war criminals and sympathizers. As the first recorded adventure takes place in 1962 and presuming he joined the military when he was in his late teens, he would be about 34-35 as the series begins.
Mr. Holmes is the way most people address this energetic man-on-the-go, some because of the things he is known to have accomplished and others simply because of his understood authority. Others who do not quite know how to take this man who often jokes at the most serious of times and has a rakish smile for all who deal with him, especially attractive young women are quite surprised when people with considerable years of experience deal with Holmes as an equal if not a superior.
Superior is never the way that Holmes would consider himself. He is often annoyed when he finds he has missed an important clue and very angry with himself if he fails to anticipate an upcoming event. This self-demoting attitude is probably because Holmes is a very smart and observant and, as needed, crafty individual who expects the most out of himself and is irked when he fails to live up to his own standards. The fact that he is looked upon so favorably is humbling to him, a facet that is quite appealing to the reader.
Though some of these descriptions might give the appearance of a bookish brain, Holmes is far from that in truth. He enjoys a good, exciting case and he gets involved in many governmental problems largely because he does not like being bored. If there is nothing going on at the moment, he is likely to be found chasing down a new technology or procedure or anything that gets him out of the office and doing something. In one book it is commented by an annoyed fellow worker that he often disappears for days or weeks at a time doing who-knows-what.
Holmes is unmarried and unattached but he most definitely is drawn to the fairer sex and they are not adverse to his attentions. In keeping with the proper gentleman that Holmes decidedly is, there is no implication that his intentions are anything other than honorable.
Holmes is a character who, though understandably serious about his work, likes to crack a smile now and then and who can, in the oddest moments, switch from his normal manner of talking and affect a deep Scottish brogue or Cockney accent or anything to ease tensions when they get too heavy. This often makes people who do not know him wonder how seriously he should be taken, especially when they see a mischievous gleam in his eye. Holmes, of course, takes his job for real while still having fun with it.
In contrast to his claims that he handles the odd problem for the Prime Minister, the adventures that Holmes has are definitely important and interesting. In the first, he has to find a possibly kidnapped major Cabinet minister before an economic crisis strikes. In another, he goes up against terrorists planning to explode a nuclear weapon. In yet another, he goes in search of a missing scientist whose research could have global implications. Mr. Holmes knows how to stay busy.