Lately I've been thinking of taking on a new project. I do this a lot. I find a new angle on something and I can't help but pursue it until I'm satisfied that I've wrung it dry. I don't actually have the time for anything else right now, but I always say that. I'm a glutten for Sherlockian punishment. Here's what I've been pondering.
Over on Facebook I do a post any time a listing for a chronological finding comes up. Very recently I found that Vincent Delay likes 'The Adventure of the Cardboard Box' (CARD) for August 28, 1885. He bases that almost entirely on the death of General Gordon. We learn from that story that Gen. Gordon's "newly-framed picture" is hanging at Baker Street. Now, that doesn't mean that Gordon had just died, only that his picture was just hung. Delay, though, takes "newly-framed" to mean that he did just die, and that the portrait was put on the wall because of that recent death. The says the date for his demise was August 22, 1885. Delay uses Watson's words that it was August, and a Friday. He concludes that the picture was framed and hung (just after the death) on Friday, August 28, 1885. That's the kind of thing I'm talking about. (I would like to point out that Mr. Delay is completely wrong about the death date of General Gordon. I don't know where he got the date he lists, but it's incorrect. However, what he does with this info [though wrong] is use it to help date a story. That's the point of this blog entry today.)
April 8, 1882 - This is the starting date of 'The Adventure of the Yellow Face' (YELL) according to H. W. Bell. It is also the day that French historian and Joan of Arc authority Jules Quicherat died in Paris. Now, the two probably don't have one single thing to do with each other, but one of the joys of this part of the hobby is that if you want to figure out or make a connection bewteen them, you can.
Now, I'm not saying that any of these are accurate, I'm just saying that I think things like this are worth pursuing in trying to help establish a definitive timeline of the Sherlock Holmes canon. One has to look at every possibility in order to do this "job" and I find that nearly all of the chronologies I have collected shy away from doing the research on smaller events that might make a huge difference. I follow dozens and dozens of websites, blogs, and historians, and they all provide excellent information about the times of Holmes, and are an invaluable resource for people like me. It's because of those sites that I was able to write this particular column fairly quickly - all of what I wanted and needed was actually at my fingertips. Research! Research! Research! Data! Data! Data!
A task like this one doesn't happen overnight, so don't be expecting anything to happen to quickly. With 60 cases, and hundreds of different chronological findings from 20 diffrent people, it's going to take some time once I get started. However, as with all of this, it will be a labor of love, and one I will attempt to complete as fast as I can so that the great Sherlockian thirst for knowledge can be slaked.
Once again, thank for reading. I'll see you next month.