Everything is in order [CHAS]

When I heard recently that someone had set themselves a summer reading project to read the entire Canon of sixty stories including all the short stories and the four novels, I suggested an unusual approach to this would be to read the stories in the chronological order according to when the cases occurred rather than the more usual order of publication.

Using Vincent Delay‘s as the the most recent attempt to order the stories, despite my legendary problem with dates, this would be the order in which they should be read.

Before Holmes and I met:

  1. The Gloria Scott
  2. The Musgrave Ritual

Our meeting and the first case together, up to the Great Hiatus:

  1. A Study In Scarlet
  2. Shoscombe Old Place
  3. The Resident Patient
  4. The Beryl Coronet
  5. The Speckled Band
  6. Thor Bridge
  7. The Cardboard Box
  8. The Yellow Face
  9. The Greek Interpreter
  10. Charles Augustus Milverton
  11. The Valley of Fear
  12. The Reigate Squires
  13. Silver Blaze
  14. The Sign of the Four
  15. The Five Orange Pips
  16. The Noble Bachelor
  17. A Scandal In Bohemia
  18. The Stockbroker’s Clerk
  19. The Crooked Man
  20. The Second Stain
  21. The Naval Treaty
  22. The Dying Detective
  23. The Blue Carbuncle
  24. The Boscome Valley Mystery
  25. The Man with the Twisted Lip
  26. The Engineer’s Thumb
  27. The Hound of the Baskervilles
  28. A Case of Identity
  29. The Copper Beeches
  30. The Red-Headed League
  31. The Final Problem

After the Great Hiatus:

  1. The Empty House
  2. The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax
  3. The Norwood Builder
  4. The Sussex Vampire
  5. The Golden Pince-Nez
  6. The Red Circle
  7. Wisteria Lodge
  8. The Three Students
  9. The Solitary Cyclist
  10. Black Peter
  11. The Bruce-Partington Plans
  12. The Veiled Lodger
  13. The Missing Three-Quarter
  14. The Devil’s Foot
  15. The Abbey Grange
  16. The Dancing Men
  17. The Retired Colourman
  18. The Six Napoleons
  19. The Priory School
  20. The Three Garridebs
  21. The Three Gables
  22. The Illustrious Client
  23. The Creeping Man
  24. The Blanched Soldier
  25. The Mazarin Stone
  26. The Lion’s Mane
  27. His Last Bow


3 Responses

  1. Akemi Riverdepp says:

    Have you tried the Baring-Gould annotated Sherlock Holmes? Ever seen the chronological SH’s stories order according to him?? Most scholars believe he was the most accurate at the time of ordering the stories, and I totally agree. You should give it a look.

    • The Good Doctor says:

      I have, in my library, a range of reference books including both the W S Baring-Gould Annotated (both a one-volume edition and the original two-volume edition) and the more recent Leslie Klinger Annotated. The problem with Baring-Gould is that if some parts of a story do not suit his view of the chronology he tends to ignore them. I doubt that anyone will ever completely unravel the mysteries surrounding the Sherlock Holmes timeline. My poor record-keeping, failing memory, a desire to obfsucate to protect the people behind some of the stories and my literary agent’s own problems of reading my notes and somewhat hurried checking of the publication proofs have created enough work to keep Sherlockian’s busy analysing and arguing, probably for ever!

  2. I agree that we’ll never have a “perfect” chronology, and with 15 published (each different), I thought that the best one could do was examine them all and note where there is consensus. That’s what I’ve done in “The New Annotated SH”–go with the “consensus” dates. For a more detailed tabulation of ALL of the chronologies (except for Vincent’s, which is too recent), may I suggest consultation of my Sherlock Holmes Reference Library, containing a chronological table of the results for each case? Or alternatively, and certainly less costly, may I recommend the book “‘The Date Being?'” by Andrew Jay Peck and myself, tabulating 14 chronologies?

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