Monday, October 10, 2016

Among the best and wisest, no doubt.

Today, I spent a lot of time thinking back to the early 1980s and Dubuque, Iowa, and what came after.

Dubuque was where I first met Gordon Speck.

We lost Gordon today. And what a day for it. With all that's going on lately, with one of the worst examples of a human male dominating our media, the loss of one of the truest gentlemen I ever met hit all the harder.

Gordon Speck, and his partner in Sherlockian crime Bill Cochran, were among the Sherlockian friends I met at a Dubuque Sherlockian conference way back when, and let me tell you . . . as much as I love the bunch of them, Gordon always stood out.

Gordon was one of those people who made you a better person, both by example and by the respect and kindness in how he treated you. And everybody else, with a few rare exceptions. I was lucky enough to share more than a few adventures with Gordon, and even at the most frustrating of moments, like when one of our more eccentric Sherlockian drivers crashed into Gordon's car in the most ridiculous way I ever saw, Gordon remained patient, generous, and kind.

We all have those people who come first to mind when we hear "Sherlockians are the best people," and Gordon was one of mine.  We usually use Holmes's words "Stand we me here upon the terrace . . ." to honor our dead in Sherlockian circles, but given this moment and the un-gentleness out there in the world, I don't think I want to just stand with Gordon's memory. I think maybe it's time to do as Holmes and Watson do in the rest of "His Last Bow:" They leave the terrace, get in the car, and head off to take a friend out into a world that needs their services more than ever. Taking a friend, or even the memory of a friend like Gordon out into the world is definitely something worth doing.

Because if memories of Gordon Speck inspire an occasional moment of emulating his example out there, well, that won't be a bad thing at all.

On we go, Gordon. Thanks.


  1. I feel very lucky to have met Gordon twice in the past year. After my first Parallel Case meeting, I came home and told my wife about Gordon, someone who welcomed me in and gave me something to shoot for.

  2. Well said, Brad! When I used to attend the Sherlock Holmes weekend in NYC, one of the things I looked forward to most was encountering Gordon Speck. He never held himself aloof or made you feel like he had something more important to get to. You got the full Gordon, and he was a treasure trove of Sherlockian history and scholarship. Our ranks are diminished by his absence.

  3. Gordon was always great fun to be with, and one of the first to make me feel truly welcome in the Sherlockian world, oh so many years ago. I was so glad to see him in Minneapolis earlier this year, and, all these years later, he was still giving me good advice and clueing me in on the "real skinny." A good friend, a fine Sherlockian scholar, and a genuinely good person in every way. Thanks, Brad, for paying tribute to him today.

  4. Well said, Brad. Gordon was one of the first to welcome me to the Sherlockian family and his kindness and welcoming nature has had a profound impact on me