Bob Howard is an agent with "The Laundry".
Told in the sardonic style that Mr. Stross is known for, the adventures of Bob Howard relate the turmoil of this super-secret British Intelligence organization that exists to fight those who would use occult means of contacting other dimensions, all to the detriment of society. The organization hides behind a cover as the Capitol Laundry Services with the slogan "washes cleaner than clean!"
As an analyst turned field agent, Howard is an ultra-geek who has the standard disdain for authority, an attitude earned through interminable meetings which usually end with nothing decided. He at least has the satisfaction of knowing that the bad guys seem as burdened with red tape as he is.
To get to the offices of the Laundry, Howard takes the Northern line subway one stop past Euston station, heads up the stairs to the level one floor beneath the street, goes into the men's room to the last stall on the right side. Pushing the flush handle up opens a door behind the toilet and he can squeeze past to go down a short hallway to the inner workings of Britain's "Extra-Secret Service."
As the series starts, Howard has been an analyst for several years, sitting in a tiny office stuck snugly between a row of file cabinets and a line of old lockers. His job had been to analyze news accounts, press clippings, internet scuttlebutt, word-of-mouth, and anything else he can find for clues of the Others.
The truth that the agents of the Laundry know and that the world is blissfully ignorant about is that we are not alone in this world. There are creatures trying to break through the fabric of the dimensional walls to cause considerable nastiness to our side. It is the job of the analysts to find where they might be getting help from this side and the job of the agents to stop it.
After considerable time asking to get out of his office and become an agent, Howard is finally given his chance.