Sunday, December 23, 2012

Follow That Goose! - The Blue Carbuncle (1) Timeline.

The Goose as cooked by Granada TV.
For Christmas, I am writing about the artistry of Conan Doyle's short story The Blue Carbuncle.

It was useful to deduce a Timeline of events, which I present here as an orientation for the main blog post on Christmas Day.
The action takes place in the morning and evening of the 2nd day after Christmas - 27 December (a Friday if the consensus year, 1889, is accepted.)

A retrospective picture of the sequence of events since Sunday 22nd December emerges in the course of the action. 


Sunday 22 December.
- the robbery. The jewel secreted on James Ryder.
- (evening) Horner arrested. Ryder panics/flees to sister in Brixton. Jewel in goose. Ryder takes wrong goose to Kilburn.
- Mrs. Oakshot sells goose in batch of 24 to  Breckinridge (@7s 6d). Breckinridge immediately sells on to Alpha landlord (@12s).
- Jewel is now at Alpha Inn when Ryder discovers error. Ryder back to Brixton.
- Ryder to Covent Garden - no joy from Breckinridge.

Monday 23 December.
- Morcar's first Times reward ad (given that was possible following a Sunday robbery).
- Horner languishes in jail ( case referred to Assizes).
- Ryder makes persistent attempts to quiz Breckinridge.
- The goose awaits collection by a Member of The Goose Club at the Alpha Inn.

Tuesday 24 December.
- Second Times reward ad.
- Horner's second full day in jail.
- Ryder continues to question Breckinridge.
- The goose awaits collection at the Alpha Inn.

Wednesday 25 December, Christmas Day.
- No Times ad being Christmas Day (?)
- No Covent Garden Market being Christmas Day (?)
- Horner's third full day in jail.
- 4 am. Henry Baker attacked. Goose and hat picked up by Peterson.
- later that morning. Peterson brings goose and hat to Sherlock Holmes. Holmes keeps them for examination.
- No goose on the Baker table/ no jewel for Morcar to wear/ Ryder waits, miserable, for the market to re-open.

Thursday 26 December, Boxing Day.
- No Times ad being Boxing Day (?)
- No Covent Garden Market being Boxing Day (?)
- Horner's fourth full day in jail.
- The goose (and jewel) are in 221b.
-Morcar distraught/ Ryder surely crazed by now.

Friday 27 December. ( the 'present' of the story's action).
- Peterson calls early, takes goose home to cook.
- Watson calls during his rounds to wish SH compliments of season.
- Horner begins fifth full day in jail.
- Morcar's latest Times reward ad published.
- Ryder back to Covent Garden Market.
- Peterson returns with jewel wife has discovered.
- SH writes Henry Baker ad. Peterson takes it to newspapers & buys/returns with a replacement goose.
- SH retains jewel in his strongbox while he writes to Morcar.
- Watson resumes rounds.

6.30 pm.
- Watson & Baker arrive together at 221b.
- SH clarifies he has retained goose and hat for some days.
- 7pm dinner of woodcock is postponed till supper.
7 - 7.15 approx.
- SH and JW to Alpha Inn on foot ( 15 mins to Bloomsbury).
7.30-45 approx.
- SH & JW proceed to Covent Garden on foot.
- Breckinridge confirms purchase of goose on 22 Dec.
- Ryder taken back to Baker St in a 4-wheeler (half hr journey).
8 - 8.15 approx.
- Ryder's confession & release.
- late supper of woodcock.


1. In the story as written, Holmes & Watson are to eat supper leaving Morcar still jewel-less, the police uninformed and Horner still in jail.
2. Horner has had a wretched Christmas. The Countess will not have celebrated. Ryder has (almost farcically) miserably revisited Breckinridge time & again (completely powerless on 25/26 if the Market was closed).
3. Deliciously ironic that Holmes had the goose (and therefore the jewel) at 221b from 25th am to 27th am).
4. SH does not give Peterson any money to pay for the ad or the replacement goose - I assume he thinks P can well afford these as he will collect £1000 reward (about £80,000 today).
5. There was clearly demand for geese after Christmas - Breckinridge could provide 500 if need on the 28th.
6. I have gone with the year 1889 as this seems the most generally accepted date for the action of The Blue Carbuncle.

My main post on BLUE was published on Christmas Day.

To go straight to the Main Post please CLICK

No comments:

Post a Comment