Earlier this month I mentioned in one of my Facebook Posts that 'A Case of Identity' (IDEN) may be the most disagreed upon tale in The Canon. When I sat down to write this blog entry, I looked once again just to make sure I was right. Well, I was...kind of. Of the 22 chronologies I have, it ties with others as having the most individual dates between chronologists. So, let's take a look at them, shall we?
The spreadsheet I'm using for this Post is titled 'Specifics' and it has all of the cases in alphabetical order with each chronologist's dates under each case title. Those dates are in order from earliest to latest, and are divided into four sections - Specific, Less Specific, Even Less Specific, and Unspecific. Here's what 'The Adventure of the Abbey Grange' (ABBE) looks like.
William S. Baring-Gould (B-G) has the earliest date with October 18, 1887.
Brad Keefauver (KEEF) is next with April 16, 1888.
Carey Cummings - June 20, 1889.
Jay Finley Christ (CHRI) - June 26, 1889.
Jean-Pierre Crauser (CRAU) - October 1, 1889.
Henry Folsom (FOLS) - October 7, 1889.
Ernest Zeisler (ZEIS) and Robert Pattrick (PATT) - October 9, 1889.
The duo of Alan Bradley & William S. Sarjeant (B & S) - October 18, 1889.
Vincent Delay (DELA) - May 17, 1890.
Howard Bell (BELL) says mid-September 1888.
John Hall (HALL) - September 17 or 24, 1888.
Martin Dakin (DAKI) - A Thursday in September 1888.
EVEN LESS SPECIFIC
Aimee Shu (SHU) prefers June 1887.
Roger Butters (BUTT) - May 1888.
Chris Miller (MILL) - September 1888.
June Thomson (THOM) and Gavin Brend (BREN) - April 1889.
T. S. Blakeney - April or May 1889.
Mike Ashley (ASHL) - May - June 1889.
Edgar W. Smith (SMIT) - September 1889.
And Craig Marinaro (MARI) - 1st three weeks (ending on the 19th) of October 1889.
That's 20 different dates among 22 chronologists! Note how they all stay in the same year range of 1887 to 1890, but that the month is anywhere from April to October. Like I said, this is a heavily debated story. There is almost no consensus at all. 'The Gloria Scott' (GLOR) is exactly the same with the 20 to 22 ratio, but that case is much harder to pin down. Only four give an exact date, while 13 fall into the Even Less Specific column.
On the flip side, we have cases where there's almost universal, or near-universal, agreement. 'The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier' (BLAN) has two exact dates preferred by seven people. (Six for one of them, and one for the other.) The remaining chronologists all like January 1903. Another would be 'The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist' (SOLI). It has five precise dates listed that are liked by 14 people, and the rest all say April 1895.
If you don't know me personally, then you wouldn't know that I am a list guy. I like things in tidy columns and charts. Info is easily accessible and obtainable. From my spreadsheets I can see all of the oddities, comparisons, and patterns in the chronologies. Having the info at my fingertips makes this "job" more bearable. There's no way I could keep all of this in my head. Someone once asked Albert Einstein what the speed of light was, and was then astonished to hear that he didn't recall. He explained that he had it written down so he didn't have to remember it. That's one of the reasons for my sheets. I can carry all of this with me on paper, or in a file, or on a flash drive, and not let it rent too much space in my brain.