About the Irregular Special Press

On the 15th August 1992 the Irregular Special Railway Company (ISRC) was formed. To anybody who is not familiar with Sherlock Holmes the name may seem strange, until you realise that the aforementioned ISRC was, in fact, a Sherlock Holmes society devoted to the travels of the great detective. The name is derived both from those street urchins who helped Holmes more than once in his investigations, The Irregulars, and the Special train hired by Professor Moriarty to pursue Holmes in The Adventure of the Final Problem. The ISRC was a scion of the Franco-Midland Hardware Company (founded in 1989). Several years later the ISRC broke away from its parent society and became an independent concern organising meetings and publishing 5 volumes of its own academic periodical, The Sherlock Holmes Railway Journal. Today the society, like so many others formed at that time, is ‘in the sidings’ and no longer active.

Publications for the ISRC was performed by the Irregular Special Press (ISP) which continues to publish books with a Sherlock Holmes interest. The logo adopted for the publishing enterprise was a railway track passing through a tunnel with light shining in from one end – an allusion to there being ‘light at the end of the tunnel'(which is also the translation of the latin motto lux in extreme cuniculo) just as there was figuratively in many a Sherlock Holmes adventure. The tunnel itself is formed of concentric rings alternating light and dark to represent good and evil, but often indistinguishable in the darkness of the tunnel itself. The surround with company name is in the form of a leather window tie strap as used to raise and lower carriage windows on many a Victorian railway carriage.

In 2004 the ISP became part of the larger Baker Street Studios Limited (BSSL) when the latter took over Breese Books (BB), who at that time with 32 publications was the largest provider of new Sherlock Holmes novels (written by a variety of authors in the style of Conan Doyle). These books complemented those available via the ISP. As the publications from both companies were integrated into BSSL, BB and the ISP became imprints of the new company, with the ISBN identifier for the ISP being 978 1 901091.

It was decided that going forward BB would concentrate on producing new Sherlock Holmes novels, to be called the Breese Books Sherlock Holmes Collection, while the ISP would produce other types of murder mystery books (both factual and fiction) along with audio books and DVDs. The ISP also diversified into producing a series of … On Location guides to film and television series – the first being Inspector Morse on Location. It was a good decision since some of the location guides have become best sellers, and led in 2021 to a new set of books being produced under the series title In the Footsteps of … – the first of these being In the Footsteps of Jack the Ripper.

Today the ISP has a back catalogue of 50 books including 9 … On Location guides, 3 In the Footsteps of … guides, 8 audio books and 1 DVD with more to follow.