As Roger Johnson reminded us recently on the “I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere” podcast, the Sherlock Holmes community is as much about friendship as it is about scholarship. Yesterday I drank a manhattan in honor of our great Sherlockian friend R. Joel Senter, who crossed the Reichenbach that morning. And I drank it in a Sherlock Holmes glass that Joe and his dear wife, Carolyn, gave me.
(Technically, the drink was an Annhattan, as Joe and Carolyn dubbed Ann Brauer Andriacco’s version of that classic cocktail. The ingredients are the same; it’s the artistry that’s different.)
Joe passed away peacefully with Carolyn holding his hand.
Ann and I and our friend Steve Winter, also a Sherlockian, studied psychology with Joe at the University of Cincinnati in the 1970s. Since we were in a class of roughly 800 students, it would be a fib to say we knew him well. We could barely see him! We did come to know him well the following decade, however, as a fellow member of the Tankerville Club of Cincinnati.
Far beyond Cincinnati, Joe and Carolyn are well known to Sherlockians around the country and Holmesians around the globe as the former proprietors of the Classic Specialties online business and the Sherlockian E-Times. Joe produced the E-Times until his energies flagged a few months ago.
Ann and I are blessed to have numerous other memories of the Senters, however. We vacationed together, watched election returns together, celebrated Halloween together, and for several years even went to Easter Vigil Mass together although they are not of our faith.
Joe and I also played chess together. I think he gave up the game when I sort of beat him, even though I am the world’s worst chess layer. We started an online Sherlockian society called “The Scheming Minds of Sherlock Holmes” because Holmes called adeptness at chess the mark of a scheming mind (RETI). I have a T-shirt and a sweatshirt to prove it.
I am forever indebted to Joe for helping me to become a published mystery novelist. He told me about MX Publishing, which is still the publisher of most of my books. He and Carolyn also helped me brainstorm the book that eventually became The Amateur Executioner, which I wrote with Kieran McMullen.
These are all happy memories, and fun to write about at this point while I am still numb from the shock of Joe’s passing.
Good-bye, Joe. And thanks for everything.
|Joe, Dan, and Carolyn|