The publication record of Sherlock Holmes stories and novels is pretty straightforward: A Study in Scarlet appeared in 1887, and the last adventures were published in 1927. But if one begins to dig into the chronology of the stories and characters themselves, the process of determining when various cases occurred in history is more of a thorny problem. Several Sherlockians (I am not one of them) have attempted to construct sensible chronologies of Mr. Holmes's life and adventures over the years. The most famous Holmes chronology is probably the one created by W. S. Baring-Gould for his monumental Annotated Sherlock Holmes. There have been others, of course. I don't intend to list all of them here, but here are a few chronologies that are easily available online. It is fascinating to see the many places where they agree, as well as the places where they diverge.
According to a Sherlockian site based in my hometown area of Peoria, IL (I'm actually from a small town just north of Peoria), January 12 may very well have been the day on which "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton" began. Watson records the day as "a cold, frosty winter's evening," and there are references to the 14th and the 18th, but beyond that, I'm not sure how Mr. Keefauver of Sherlock Peoria arrived at his date.
Still, it's worth pointing out that the episode of Sherlock which airs today on the BBC, entitled "His Last Vow," features a villain named Charles Augustus Magnussen, who is a "master blackmailer" based on the character Doyle created. So it seems a little serendipitous that I chose to look up today's date in Holmes history, and found a date that relates to this very day in 2014.
I doubt that I will make this "Today in Holmes History" a regular feature on this blog, but I may do it from time to time, just for fun.
I'm a stay-at-home dad, and Director of Music Ministries at a United Methodist Church in Mt. Juliet, TN. And a longtime fan of Sherlock Holmes.