So, after having tried my hand at a timeline of the BBC Sherlock series, I’ve recently put myself at a much more complicate and ambitious task - that is, a chronology of the original ACD’s Canon.
Of course, any attempt at such an enterprise is an hazard, as we know how sloppy Doyle could be with dates and other chronological details…
And this is, naturally, only my PERSONAL timeline: I intentionally avoided to go back to my Baring-Gould or other chronologies, compiled by other people, so as not being influenced.
Some brief clarifications, before I leave this post open to asks and replies:
I found myself forced to anticipate what I thought to be Sherlock Holmes’ birthdate: I noticed that, in GLOR, it’s said that the Gloria Scott sunk in 1855, and thus Victor Trevor could hardly be born before the end of 1957; but Holmes and Trevor were fellow students at college, so Holmes must be born in 1857, too. This, however, would also be congruent with what Watson tells us in VEIL about the duration of Holmes’ career and of their active cooperation.
I inserted a specific note about the controversial question of the date and duration of Watson’s first marriage. Here we have TWO thorny issues to handle: 1) From SIGN it would seem that Watson and Mary Morstan got engaged and then married in 1888, but from many hints in other stories (mainly NOBL, SCAN and FIVE) it appears more likely that all the events portrayed in SIGN - thus including Watson’s engagement and, possibly, his marriage - actually happened one year before, in 1887; if this were true, many of the cases I placed in 1889 could instead have occurred in 1888. 2) Through all the years 1889 and 1890 Watson appears alternatively to live with his wife and be in practice, and to live in Baker Street with Holmes; this is the main reason why some scholars have hypotesized that Watson’s marriage with Mary Morstan only lasted some few months, and Watson then married ANOTHER woman before 1891; I, however, cannot agree with this theory, as the periods of lodge-sharing and those of matrimonial life appear completely intermingled between 1889 and 1890: my take on it is that Mary’s health deteriorated quite soon after her marriage and she was frequently absent, to a sanatorium, or an asylum, or on trips in more salubrious places than London; another possibility (which I’ve already stated), which is linked to the fact that Holmes and Watson, in VALL, appear aware of the existance and crimes of Moriarty much before 1891, is that Watson actually kept Mary away most of the time during the years in which Holmes and him investigated Moriarty’s organization, in order to keep her safe from possible threats.