A Big Breakthrough in a Tiny Mystery

Last Sunday, I posted a request for help in narrowing down when, in 1923, Arthur Conan Doyle rode a train from Kansas City, Missouri, to Colorado Springs, Colorado. It was a silly request, but I thought maybe some fellow history nerd/fellow Sherlock Holmes fan might have an idea about where to find this information, an idea which was evading me.

Alas, no.

Vera looking in
“Continue looking askance, Watson,” Holmes advised urgently. “Either two immense ghost hunters are peering in at us — or I miscalculated my usual seven-percent solution.”

Then I came across Brian W. Pugh‘s A Chronology of the Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Revised 2018 Edition and discovered there that Conan Doyle was scheduled to lecture in Kansas City’s Grand Theatre on May 5, 1923. I had already checked the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America newspaper archive — with no results — so I went to the archive of the Kansas City Star. I didn’t have to go beyond their free previews to see that, indeed, Conan Doyle had made an appearance at the Grand Theatre on May 5. All other signs suggest he took his long train trip to Colorado the following day.

I have now determined when the next novel in the Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mysteries series is set. Writing a novel can be taxing. But curiously fun, too.

— Tim

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