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Full Name: Wiggins
Series Name: The Irregular Spy
Nationality: British
Organization: British Secret Service
Occupation Agent

Creator: H. B. Lyle
Time Span: 2017 - 2023


Wiggins is an agent with the British Secret Service.

Actually, at the time of the first adventure we have of him in such a line of work, that organization had not actually been formed. It was in the process of being created by Vernon Kell, head of counter-intelligence at the War Office. Kell had been directed, along with Mansfield Smith-Cumming, to create departments to handle growing threats to the security of the United Kingdom. Kell would handle internal security while Smith-Cumming would take care of the foreign activities; the two departments would soon be known as MI5 and MI6. When we join the activity, it is all in its infancy.

Wiggins, when we come across him as Kell approaches for his initial conversation, has recently been demobbed from the military. Money is tight as shown by the fact that he has not been able to pay his rent for a month now and he is currently in the sometime employ of rotund Tobias Leach, a fellow who ran a stable of 'bailiffs' out to collect money from around the city of London "owned to one sharker or another", getting a cut of the action. Wiggins is obviously not cut out for this line of work for while he is quite adept at tracking down the delinquent payers, he is very susceptible to their tales of woe.

When Kell approaches Wiggins and begins his pitch to bring him into the budding team, Wiggins is less than interested. "I don't do official" is his immediate response. It will take a sad turn of events to get the unwilling Wiggins to change his mind and work with Kell.

The reason for Kell's interest in Wiggins, indeed his knowledge of this young man recently returned from fighting for England in the Boer Wars, is a recommendation by a man Kell would have good reason to trust. Knowing that the patch for his nascent Department would be England and that would mean to a large degree London, Kell turned to the famous consulting detective Sherlock Holmes for advice on people to hire. And Holmes would tell him about Wiggins.

Holmes' knowledge of Wiggins comes from many years earlier when the then young lad for the unofficial leader in the gang of street urchins, or street arabs as Dr. Watson would call them, known as the Baker Street Irregulars. This group would earn money to survive by running all sort of errands for Holmes as well as tracing and tracking individuals as needed. Holmes proudly stated that they could "go everywhere and hear everything". Holmes apparently took special interest in the older Wiggins and taught him a considerably amount of his methods and processes. This will be quite evident to Kell as time goes by.


Number of Books:4
First Appearance:2017
Last Appearance:2023

Wiggins, the protagonist of this series, was first an interesting albeit minor character in the first two adventures told about the legendary Sherlock Holmes, A Study In Scarlet (1887) and The Sign Of Four (1888).

1 The Irregular Spy The Irregular Spy
Written by H. B. Lyle
Copyright: 2017

The year is 1909. Vernon Kell, head of counter-intelligence at the War Office, is out to create what would later be called MI5 but he needs proof of the need for such a bureau. He needs someone he can trust with experience at investigation and deduction and he chooses Wiggins, a veteran of the Irregulars, to be that man. Wiggins is not so willing, though, until a friend is killed by Russians anarchists. Now Wiggins has a reason.
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2 The Red Ribbon The Red Ribbon
Written by H. B. Lyle
Copyright: 2018

Now a member of the British Secret Service, Wiggins is still out to find the man known as Peter the Painter, the one who killed his friend, Bill. Wiggins' boss, Vernon Kell, has a couple of other pressing issues to be dealt with. The first is the need to find who has been leaking valuable secret intel from the government. The second is the fact that his wife is getting too close to a militant group in the suffragette movement.
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3 The Year Of The Gun The Year Of The Gun
Written by H. B. Lyle
Copyright: 2020

The year is 1912. Wiggins is no longer with the Secret Service and is heading to America to find his love Bela. Unfortunately, a bit of trouble en route lands him in Dublin where he finds himself working for a local gang leader named O'Connell and driving that man's girl friend, Molly, around the city. Molly is determined to get O'Connell involved in the smuggling of guns to help the separatist movement. Wiggins will find himself drawn into the matter which will lead to his being reunited with his old mentor, Sherlock Holmes.
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4 Spy Hunter Spy Hunter
Written by H. B. Lyle
Copyright: 2023

The year is 1914.
"Sherlock Holmes has been murdered.
Nobody knows who did it, but Wiggins, former Baker Street Irregular and Holmes' protégée, suspects a German spy. However, Europe is descending into the chaos of the First World War. Captain Kell of Military Intelligence has limited resources, and more pressing matters on his mind. Wiggins is on his own. Almost. He pursues Holmes' killer across the continent, but as grief and rage close in it's not just the killer that eludes his grasp . . ."
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     Being a life-long Holmes fan, any twist on those hallowed grounds is intriguing to me, albeit with ever-present worry about quality. No need to worry here as the writing is really excellent and the grasp of a now all-grown-up Wiggins working as an impromptu spy is a hoot.

     I love the more mature attitude Wiggins has over what I imagine it would have been as a street urchin but though he has aged and grown wiser, he has not lost the street attitude completely and that makes the books a lot of fun to read. I hope he keeps them up.


My Grade: B+


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