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"Baker Street Irregular is a mystery and espionage tale told by a member of a whimsical Sherlock Holmes club born in a speakeasy, as Woody Hazelbaker undergoes America's political struggles in the 1930s and Second World War in the '40s, stretching from the Great Depression's worst year to the beginning of the Cold War. A young New York lawyer, Woody gets a cold dose of reality from a gangster client he keeps secret from the world, then puts stratagems he learned to use when he and other Baker Street Irregulars react to Hitler's war against Europe's democracies" -- from publisher's web site.
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Starred Review. Lellenberg, the official historian of the Baker Street Irregulars and coauthor of Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in Letters (with Daniel Stashower and Charles Foley), makes an impressive fiction debut with this gripping period spy novel. In 1933, Woody Hazelbaker, a young Wall Street lawyer, gets an unexpected and unlikely career break after taking on mobster Owney Madden as a client. The knowledge Woody gains from assisting the criminal in liquidating his interests in a number of businesses proves handy years later on the eve of WWII when Woody and some fellow Sherlockians get involved in anti-Nazi efforts amid strong isolationist sentiment. Lellenberg does an excellent job at bringing the original Irregulars, who included Christopher Morley and Rex Stout, to life. His own background as former director of the Pentagon's special operations bureau's policy and strategy office serves him well in recreating the grind and tedium of actual intelligence work. (Nov.) (c)
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