How could I create a timeline for "The Red-Headed League"?

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Creating a timeline for this story is not as easy as one might think, but let's give it a try. Start with the meeting of Jabez Wilson and Sherlock Holmes. We know that Wilson tells a story of what has happened leading up to his deciding to call on Holmes,...

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Creating a timeline for this story is not as easy as one might think, but let's give it a try. Start with the meeting of Jabez Wilson and Sherlock Holmes. We know that Wilson tells a story of what has happened leading up to his deciding to call on Holmes, so put this event toward the bottom of your list or toward the right side of your timeline if you are representing it visually. Your entry would be:

Saturday morning: Wilson calls on Holmes.

Next, we find out that eight weeks ago Wilson responded to the advertisement for the Red-Headed League. Here things get a little odd because the date given on the newspaper containing the ad is "April 27, 1890." However, in the first paragraph we learn from Watson that Wilson's visit was in the autumn, so there is a discrepancy. In fact, the date the Red-Headed League was dissolved was "October 9, 1890," and we know that "eight weeks pass away like this," with Wilson copying from the Encyclopaedia Britannica. So, choose one date or the other. Let's keep the fall setting and go back eight weeks--that puts us at August 28. But Wilson started work one day after his interview, so the ad and interview were August 27, 1890. Now we have:

August 27, 1890: Wilson responds to the advertisement.

August 28: Wilson starts work at the Red-Headed League.

October 9: The Red-Headed League is dissolved; Wilson consults Holmes.

Do we know anything about what happened previous to the advertisement? Yes. Vincent Spaulding came to work for Wilson about a month prior to the appearance of the ad. So add this before the first date:

July 28, 1890: Vincent Spaulding starts working for Wilson. (July 27 was a Sunday.)

We also know that Wilson ran a help-wanted ad and interviewed a dozen possible employees. Let's say he did that the previous Friday.

July 25: Wilson interviews job candidates.

Something else happened about the time Spaulding applied for the job with Jabez Wilson. The bank took in a shipment of French gold napoleons. We'll put that a week before Spaulding's interview.

August 20, 1890: The City and Suburban bank takes in a shipment of French gold.

Now let's move to the other end of the timeline. 

Saturday afternoon: Holmes and Watson go by the pawnshop, then attend a concert.

Saturday evening: Holmes contacts the bank manager and Scotland Yard.

Saturday night, 9:15 p.m.: Watson sets out to meet Holmes; they drive to the bank.

10 p.m.: Holmes, Watson, Jones, and Merryweather arrive in the bank vault.

11:15 p.m.: Vincent Spaulding (John Clay) comes up through the floor of the vault and is arrested.

~ 1 a.m. Sunday morning: Holmes and Watson return to Baker Street; Holmes explains the case to Watson.

Now, there's one more difficulty. Using a "perpetual calendar" like the one from the link below, you can see what day of the week any given date was. October 9, 1890, was a Thursday, not a Saturday, so none of the dates are truly accurate. I guess that's why it's called "fiction." Sir Arthur Conan Doyle published this story in The Strand in 1891, so it wouldn't have been too hard for him to make sure the days of the week matched the dates given. So, was he leaving a type of "Easter egg" to test the detective skills of his readers, or was he deliberately trying to make the story less than realistic? That is a question you may ponder after you have finished your timeline. 

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