Friday, October 1, 2021

Bill Gottfried; A personal reminiscence from Caro

I was saddened to hear about the passing of Bill Gottfried last night. Very sad indeed. Another blog site has listed all that he had done for the crime writing community. For me, I knew him as a fan of crime fiction,  a massive intellect with a warm smile and a very kind heart.

The first time I exchanged words with him was ( true story) at Crimefest in Bristol. It was my first panel as an author.  I was really nervous. These two elderly Americans had come in the room early and settled themselves right at the front. Right in front of me. Regarding me with a steady stare.  And they were talking about books and authors I had never heard of. Then we did the panel,  I tried not to be too daft. Then came the questions, Bill raised his hand, and said...'I've a question for Caro......'

I nearly died. He asked a long question, it was intelligent and the words were well crafted. I  was like a rabbit in the headlights. The question was something about being a woman and writing about violence against women, and the novel reflecting society in a broader sense. There was a long, long  pause, a real tumbleweed moment. Then I said  'No.'

Fortunately he laughed, I laughed, the room laughed and we had a good chat as a panel about the question. He could have taken offence at my cheek, but that was not in his nature.  I think he might have asked me a question directly because he recognised I was nervous.

Many years later in Raleigh, Alan and Bill had a long chat over dinner. Somebody in Bill's family was very ill. Bill talked about loss,  the loss of friends and family.  They spoke about the world getting smaller. They spoke about faith.  Alan recalls that conversation very well.

The best memory I have is pulling another author behind a pillar at the Marriot hotel at Bristol. Her name was Zoe Sharp. 'Zoe, everybody just calls them "Bill & Toby" but which one's which?' 


  1. What a lovely remembrance, Caro. Thank you. You captured exactly why we will miss his presence and always remember him with great affection!

  2. Caro, as you point out, so many of us have experienced those public moments of abject fear at the hands a Bill & Toby inquisition. But never have I heard the magical impact of those moments better expressed than you just did. Bill knew precisely what he was doing as he welcomed newbie authors into the family of crime writers. In his own special way, he made a point of yanking new authors off the bench and into the limelight by--to quote a lyric from Fiddler on the Roof--"posing problems that would cross a rabbi's eyes!"

    God bless Bill's lovely, caring soul. May his memory be a blessing to us all.

  3. I think I remember you asking that question, Caro... What a lovely piece about Bill. He will be so missed.