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Order at Wessex Press
The evening of Friday, January 8 found Irregulars and invited guests gathering at the Yale Club for the annual dinner of the Baker Street Irregulars. As is customary, we began the evening honoring "The Woman" of 2011, who in this case was Gail Postal. Gail is the significant other of Jerry Wachs ("James Saunders"). Gail was toasted by Susan Rice, ("Beeswing"), who remarked on Gail's long-held dream of being an artist, which was interrupted briefly by a full career as a schoolteacher; only now has Gail returned to art - and even has a son who works for a digital animation company ("Art in the blood..."). Gail received the Golden Door - a charm/pendant that each "The Woman" recipient is awarded.

From the cocktail hour, we moved upstairs to the dining room, where Mike Whelan, our "Wiggins," called the dinner to order and recognized four Irregulars in the crowd who each had 50 or more years in the BSI. They were:

  1. George McCormack ("Hosmer Angel") - 50 years
  2. Russell Merritt ("The Trepoff Murder") - 51 years
  3. Peter Blau ("Black Peter") - 52 years
  4. Art Levine ("The Cutter 'Alicia'") - 56 years
Then Mike bestowed "Eddies" - the award for editing a BSI publication - on editors past and present. They included Andrew Fusco, General Editor; Otto Penzler, Bohemian Souls, Laurie R. King & Leslie Klinger, The Grand Game; Peggy Purdue, the 2009 Baker Street Journal Christmas Annual; Nicholas Utechin, To Keep the Memory Green; Erico Solito & Gianluca Salvatore, Sherlock Holmes and Italy and Mandate for Murder. 

And then, to thank Mike for his efforts behind the momentum of BSI Publications, Andrew Fusco, Steve Rothman and Leslie Klinger ambushed him at the podium to award him the "Wiggy."

We then partook of all of the customary toasts and rituals, but the theme of the evening was Monsignor Ronald Knox, who is universally regarded as the father of the Sherlockian movement. It was 100 years ago that he began the tongue-in-cheek parody of Biblical scholarship with "Studies in the Literature of Sherlock Holmes," and it still rings true today. We'll be headed over to the Vendors Room in the morning to purchase a copy of Wessex Press' new title Ronald Knox and Sherlock Holmes (pictured above). Henry Boote led the group in the singing of "It's a Ron Knox Life" to the tune of "It's a Hard Knock Life," naturally followed by "Aunt Clara."

We stood on the terrace to quietly remember nine intrepid Irregulars who passed beyond the Reichenbach in 2010. And then came the moment we were all waiting for: the Honours List. The reading of the names of newly investitured Irregulars. The Class of 2011:

  • Vinnie Brosnan - "That Gap on the Second Shelf"
  • Lyndsay Faye - "Kitty Winter"
  • David Houle - "The British Museum"
  • Frank Ferry - "Dr. Leon Sterndale"
  • Peggy Perdue - "Violet Westbury"
  • Terence Faherty - "Sir Charles Baskerville"

With a wonderful reading of Vincent Starret's '221B' by Burt Wolder ("The Third Pillar from the Left") concluded the evening.

Some photos for your enjoyment:

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

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