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I hoped to do this book before now, and I hope some will still be interested in the information in it a€” both about the Baker Street Irregularsa€™ history, and their world during the decade and a half the BSI took shape. When Bliss Austin died in 1988, prompting concern about the BSI losing its history, I thought to do something about it. The idea came unbidden, and proceeded to eat my brain until I started researching and writing it. Despite its early shortcomings, I thought there was a genuine story that only required work to bring out.
My special ops colleagues and I were on the Pentagona€™s first floor about eighty feet from the impact point.
I didna€™t do any further writing in the bloody-minded mood in which my colleagues and I set to work for the year and more that followed.
Dan writes fiction as well as nonfiction, and was enthusiastic about the novela€” enough to think it might be of interest beyond the BSI itself. In July a€™04, I started writing the three final chapters in Vermont, in the house where the Prologue takes place. I delivered the manuscript to Caleba€™s agent on January 7, 2005, the day of that yeara€™s BSI annual dinner.
But then, near the end of the hour, and as if an afterthought, she remarked: a€?Of course, you need to get rid of the last two chapters.a€? Get rid of them?
The session ended with me saying Ia€™d rather have a 5000-copy edition of my story than a bestseller that wasna€™t, and her pointing out that the publishers shea€™d like to take the novel to arena€™t in business to bring out 5000-copy editions. Throughout those next two years, Baker Street Irregular sat on a shelf in her office as I worked on the Conan Doyle book, and she waited for me to come to my senses.
Sources and Methods: Woody is the only Baker Street Irregular in the novel whoa€™s fictional.
I might have been more like Woody if Ia€™d grown up in Kansas City when he did, during Prohibition. Making him a lawyer, something rare in the 1930s and a€™40s BSI, was for something entirely different, though. A screenwriter friend jocularly remarked that I needed to start thinking about what to say when Hollywood asked who I saw playing Woody in the movie. Woody sees movies incessantly, and admits that he gets too many of his ideas about life from them. Baker Street Irregular is a fascinating portrait of the BSI in its early years, a revelatory picture of America at a crucial time in world history, and a riveting account of intelligence work in World War II. In 2010, the Mycroft & Moran imprint of Arkham House published an outstanding historical espionage novel by eminent Sherlockian and retired Pentagon special operations official Jon Lellenberg. If I were to describe vividly my reaction to reading Baker Street Irregular side by side with your volume of explanation, you would accuse me of gushing.
First of all, you will be amused and proud to learn it was difficult to maintain my method of alternating chapter and notes. You had hinted that there were many facts among the fiction, but I was still surprised by the extent of the truth of the story.
A A A  Despite its early shortcomings, I thought there was a genuine story that only required work to bring out.
A A A  My special ops colleagues and I were on the Pentagona€™s first floor about eighty feet from the impact point.
A A A  I didna€™t do any further writing in the bloody-minded mood in which my colleagues and I set to work for the year and more that followed. A A A  Dan writes fiction as well as nonfiction, and was enthusiastic about the novela€” enough to think it might be of interest beyond the BSI itself.
A A A  In July a€™04, I started writing the three final chapters in Vermont, in the house where the Prologue takes place. A  I might have been more like Woody if Ia€™d grown up in Kansas City when he did, during Prohibition.
Kurou flees into the mountains after losing to his brother Minamoto no Yoritomo, the first Shogun to rule all of Japan. But so are many of its other characters, real men and women also, who didna€™t spare themselves in the struggle to preserve liberty at a time when democracy was in mortal perila€”something Irregulars of the 1930s and a€™40s realized as well. In the process, my literary interests and Pentagon life collided to give me an idea for an historical novel about the BSI. Ia€™d never cared to write fiction, and continued to bring out the fourth and fifth Archival History volumes. I sent some early chapters to a few Irregulars, drafts embarrassingly prolix compared to the final version. I sent second-draft chapters to Ronald Mansbridge, the novela€™s only living character, with lots to say about the 1930s BSI and Irregulars like Christopher Morley, Basil Davenport, and Peter Greig. We were all unharmed, but I witnessed other people brought out of the burning building badly injured, horribly burned, or dead.
Three times in my Pentagon years, when great events occurred, I had the good fortune to be exactly where Ia€™d want to be in order to take part in them. The question was whether the arcane Irregular side of the story was told in a way that interested other readers.
I now knew what I wanted to happen in the final chapters; it was a case of willing myself to write them.
I did some work on the novel through the end of the year, but it was now getting close to February 7, 2006, when Ia€™d be retiring from government and leaving Washington. I told him I did sometimes see Timothy Hutton as hea€™d been playing Archie Goodwin in the Nero Wolfe television series on Arts & Entertainment network at the time.


It was a thoroughly engrossing experience, and now I want other authors to supply me with a side volume for my favorite books, though many of them are dead.
I have read the novel twice already, but several times in this reading I noticed I was in the second or even third chapter before I returned to the notes -- your well known plot still pulled me insistently along. Some sordid details behind the novela€™s composition are stories for which the world is not yet prepared. Raised in secret and fed on tales of revenge, he seeks redemption against the witches who betrayed and murdered his mother. History records that he committed suicide, but instead, Kurou meets a strange, beautiful woman named Kuromitsu in her mountain hermitage. But I drew up a time-line for the novel as early as July 1994, and for the next several years was constantly writing it in my head: thinking out plot, choosing historical characters and inventing fictional ones, researching issues, and composing snatches of incident and dialogue in my mind.
I didna€™t receive much positive feedback, and one was honest enough to tell me to stick to nonfiction. Ronalda€™s encouragement kept me writing and cutting and revising, over and over, until I had only three chapters to go. In the days that followed, the Pentagon courtyard was turned into a field morgue, and the end of North Parking was turned into a crime-scene lab where Army graves-registration personnel, medical technicians, FBI agents, and corpse dogs sifted through every cubic inch of debris from the building for evidence and body parts.
By the time I returned to Washington, Ia€™d finished the first and all but two pages of the second. She spent an hour with me, a lot of her time for a novice like me, and impressed me with her analytical ability as she dissected the novel and identified things it needed: more about the BSI (I was glad to hear), and about how Woody feels when his marriage goes bad. I started on other things she wanted, and she continued encouraging me to get rid of those two chapters and make it a a€?Nazis dunnita€? story. I spent the two weeks after that in snowbound Vermont turning out a revised draft I sent her on the 20th. It needed to be my first big project after leaving Washington, and it kept Dan Stashower and me busy the rest of 2006 and 2007, in fact into 2008 with its post-publication aftermath.
Bird, gives him an uneasy choice: he can not only stay, but win promotion to partner years ahead of the usual time, if he discreetly acts for bootlegger-mobster Owney Madden, who wants to cash out of his illicit empire and retire. There was a silence at the other end, and then, explosively: a€?Timothy Hutton stole the best girlfriend I ever had!a€? Ok, hea€™s out of the movie. In The Cotton Club Frenchy DeMange was played i??memorably by Fred Gwynne, but as endearing as that was, ita€™s less in my mind than Bob Hoskinsa€™ Madden. In The District Messenger I said, a€?Fact and fiction sit so easily together that ita€™s often hard to tell which is which. Any browser interested in the history of American Sherlockians (including such well-known figures as Rex Stout, Christopher Morley, and Elmer Davis), or in a realistic view of espionage from pre-World War II through the Cold War, will find much of interest here and be prodded to seek out the parent novel.
This time, perhaps because I was reading with intent, I noticed how well you delineated among the Irregulars in the tone and rhythm of their speech. I was also impressed by the extent you used real events from the OWI and two types of cryptanalysis, sliding Woody into them neatly. Meanwhile, Emerald is the Princess of the Realm and pregnant with a male magic-using child by the General of the witch's armies.
Eventually, Kurou falls in love with Kuromitsu, but then realizes she conceals a dark secret. Sources and Methods are critical to collection of raw intelligence and its analysis into useful product to inform policy; and in wartime, strategy and operations. A serious one, about life in the 1930s, the struggle over Americaa€™s course as Europe went to war, the wara€™s clandestine side after we entered, and afterwards the birth of the Cold War in which my own generation was born and grew up.
Finally one day in 1999, with Irregular Crises of the Late a€™Forties out, and a bit bored with a wargame in which I was playing at U.S. Theya€™re when Woody finally understands what really happened in his personal life, and resolves everything! After Woodya€™s initial meeting with Madden and his henchman Frenchy DeMange, he gets started on it, acquiring along the way a first-hand understanding of the New York underworld he has previously been only vaguely aware of.
Its long-time machine-boss Tom Pendergast finally went to prison the year before I was born, making a big difference in local corruption and vicea€” even though in the 1950s a€?the Factionsa€? (the machinea€™s remnants) still ran K.C.
Con-gratulations!a€? Ia€™m not sure Woodya€™s that a€?balanceda€? as a person, and nobody describes me that way either, but I take what I can get. But hea€™s still in my minda€™s eye as Woody, in the opening and closing scenes of The Golden Spiders especially. Robinsona€™s Little Caesar when it came out in 1931, but his reference to King Kong must have been based on previews, because his remark comes in February a€™33 and the moviea€™s New York premiere wasna€™t until March 7th. I have trouble not seeing Bob Hoskins as him, thanks to Francis Ford Coppolaa€™s 1984 movie The Cotton Club.
But the name is a Kansas City in-joke: Emery Bird Thayer was a genteel department store for ladies there, from the Civil War until 1968. While Woody in his comings and goings wouldna€™t have run into him on the sidewalk, I imagine he bumped into Archie Goodwin more than once. It put him down on a lower level, and at the same time brought him a lot closer and a lot meaner. Lellenberg reports that an agent who represented the novel for a time thought it could have sold to a major publisher and become a bestseller if the author would have dropped the final two postwar chapters, which would have been a bad decision artistically if not commercially. As much as that, I liked reading about the reasons that emerged for some of your choices -- it all made the novel much richer. He learns that he is unable to die and continues to live for a thousand years as Japan evolves into a future society. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., I suddenly started writing. It was the first thing I saw upon arriving in the morning, and the last thing I saw when I went home at night.


While Ia€™d never consciously thought about it before, what popped into my mind was Armageddon, Leon Urisa€™s epic about the birth of the Cold War, which Ia€™d read multiple times. Then I went West, not East, for college, and instead of Law studied International Relations for a career in government.
16 herein about this.) Once that was decided, it made sense to make Woody Owney Maddena€™s diffident lawyer early in the novel, a big part of his real-life education, including getting him over some (though maybe not all) of his insecurities from a lower-middle-class Midwestern upbringing as he makes his way through professional life in New York, dealing principally with different kinds of people. But Baker Street Irregulara€™s Madden is based primarily on the i??chapter about him in The Night Club Era (1933) by Herald Tribune city editor Stanley Walker (a character in the novel himself), who knew Madden in person; and secondarily on Graham Nowna€™s 1980 book The English Godfather (though I doubt the very Irish Madden, despite having been born in Leeds, would have cared to be called an Englishman). It was a fixture in town when I was growing up, with its Country Club Plaza branch just up the block from my mothera€™s business. Ita€™s only referred to, and I wish a scene could have been set there, after seeing it when Thomas Kavaler Esq., from a firm just down the street, took me to lunch there so we could talk about Wall Street law firms then and now. But Baker Street Irregulara€™s Madden is based primarily on the chapter about him in The Night Club Era (1933) by Herald Tribune city editor Stanley Walker (a character in the novel himself), who knew Madden in person; and secondarily on Graham Nowna€™s 1980 book The English Godfather (though I doubt the very Irish Madden, despite having been born in Leeds, would have cared to be called an Englishman). Big Bad: Deborah is a ruthless evil scheming psychopathic queen who everyone hates, even her own family. I want instead to disclose the sources and methods behind Baker Street Irregular for readers whoa€™d like to know more about the personalities, institutions, and events in it. I had no idea how much Ia€™d actually find once I started looking, or that, a decade later, Ia€™d have done five volumes and some shorter works for over 1500 pages a€”with the 1950s still to go. But industry like that came in spurts, alternating with obsessive editing instead, or just plain neglect. Her view, reasonable for a literary agent, was that keeping the novel focused on what readers of World War II thrillers expect greatly increased the chance of a big sale to a publishing house, maybe even a bestseller.
1, but contributing a reference by way of tribute, is The Blue Dahlia starring Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake, for which Raymond Chandler received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay, 1946.
My schoolmate John Stapleton Altman, co-founder of The Great Alkali Plainsmen of Greater Kansas City in 1963, blew me a raspberry by email about the name. Big Good: Elizabeth Bourne thinks of herself as this but is nothing more than an annoyance to the witches. And for the sake of the historical record, since I spent thirty-five years in the kind of work that Woody Hazelbaker, the novela€™s protagonist and narrator, goes to Washington in 1940 to do, in Ch. Eventually I resumed periodically editing what Ia€™d already written, and at some point showed it to a fellow Washington BSI, Daniel Stashower, with whom I collaborate on Conan Doyle projects. I sent what Ia€™d done, and he more or less demanded that I finish it, and he talked to his high-powered literary agent in New York about representing me.
The reference is to the a€?campaign table with bottles and glassesa€? in Maddena€™s apartment (p. Baker Street Irregular is an ambitious novel and a very considerable achievement.a€? This new volume, unexpectedly but appropriately, forms part of the BSI Archival History Series. Black and White Morality: A surprise for a Tim Marquitz novel as this is as close to a struggle between good and evil as he's ever written.
It was the voice of the killer.a€? Same with Owney Madden, something Woodya€™d begun to forget.
If youa€™ve read Baker Street Irregular youa€™ll find that the facts behind it add depth to your appreciation. I noticed one in the gangstera€™s apartment in The Blue Dahlia, the first time I watched it eons ago, and ita€™s always stuck in my mind.
Like the novel, Sources and Methods follows Lord Reitha€™s policy for the BBC: it informs, it educates, it entertains. Rosenblatt, BSI.) Born in 1907, Ed was Harvard Law himself from Woodya€™s era, and a Wall Street lawyer I got to know well in the BSI and The Five Orange Pips. His son Andrewa€™s moving talk about him, at the Pips dinner following Eda€™s death in 1996, began: a€?My father was born by gaslight when Theodore Roosevelt was President,a€? and is an appendix in this book. Fan Disservice: Arashiyama exposes a resistance fighter's breasts before killing her, just because he can. Ed also appears as himself later on in the novel, so there will be more to say about another role he played in history.
Ed was one of the princes of the realm in the BSI I entered in 1973; there are few like him left in it, and I dona€™t deceive myself that Ia€™m one of them.
The trope is subverted by the fact Sebastian may be a Chosen One but he's not the Chosen One as other people have their own plots against the Witch's Council.
They want Kuromitsu's blood because it can make them immortal, and their pursuit of her underlies the entire story. Dude, Where's My Respect?: No one believes Sebastian has actually killed one of the most powerful witches ever.
Evil All Along: Victor is working for a mysterious Bigger Bad who played them all like a fiddle. God Save Us from the Queen!: Just about everyone wants Deborah replaced as monarch but she's very good at rooting out her enemies. Time still passes, but in the end it's shown that the events of the story continually repeat themselves, even down to the characters involved and that it's likely that nothing will ever change. We ARE Struggling Together: The resistance is something which Darius has nothing but contempt for and tries to pass this opinion down to his son.
Time Skip: From 12th century Japan to somewhere in the Meiji era to modern day Japan to just After the End to a century after the end when society has rebuilt itself.



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