I've recently revised the outline a lot, due to my changes about Helen Stoner and the love triangle. The addition of Holmes and Watson's "strange, brief affair" changes much of the plot, and I've decided that Holmes shall confess some things to Watson, but not to Mycroft. So I'll post the outline here to make the plot clearer, so that you can see it in its proper order.
I originally thought I could make Holmes two years younger than normal, born in 1856. However, because I put Holmes into two different universities, I've used up enough years that I have to put him back in 1854. Most chronologists put Holmes in only one university (Oxford or Cambridge), and make up something else to explain the extra seven years before he meets Watson in 1881--a trip to America, a job as an actor, etc.
Fandom: Sherlock Holmes
Story: Deeper in Memory novel
Pairings: Holmes/Watson, Holmes/Helen Stoner, Watson/Mary Morstan, Holmes/Diana Struthers (Original Female Character)
1. "...the folk are forgotten, but their names live in their houses." (SUSS)
Holmes's childhood, which is neither overly happy nor overly unhappy. The "folk" are the deceased Holmes parents whose fate is kept perpetually shrouded in mystery. Sherlock and Mycroft are orphans, but raised with their cousins the Verners in Sussex. They occasionally visit their French grandmother too, who is fond of violets.
2. "Something of his birthplace seemed to cling to the man." (MUSG)
The first half of Sherlock's university career, which begins for him at age 17; meanwhile, Mycroft makes progress in his mysterious government position, "some dull post having to do with numbers," according to his brother. Holmes's studies are unique, but he eventually befriends Victor Trevor and delves into the fateful "Gloria Scott" adventure. He may have begun taking morphine here as well, because of the dog bite. Victor leaves for Terai, and Holmes returns to the university for a short while before deciding that he should leave and become a detective.
There follows what I call his "missing year in America" where he meets the Pinkertons and New York policeman Wilson Hargreave. This is also when he picks up American slang and develops that affection for Americans that he shows in NOBL. The Pinkertons teach him valuable skills like using firearms, wearing disguises, trailing suspects without being seen, working with the police, and more. But they are private eyes as well as security guards, not the kind of detective that he wants to be. Holmes wants to develop a thoroughly scientific method of detection, and knows he cannot learn it here.
3. "I have taken to living by my wits." (MUSG)
Holmes's return to England, and to the second half of his university career. This time he chooses a different college with more scientific classes, to complete his specialized training. He also meets Reginald Musgrave at this other university, and impresses some of the other students there. Once he leaves, Holmes slowly builds a practice at Montague Street. Though much of his time is spent in research and in writing monographs, Holmes has frustratingly long stretches of free time. So he joins an acting troupe to pay the rent and to perfect his disguise skills. Perhaps he meets "the most winning woman I ever knew" here, and eventually finds out that the charming actress is poisoning her children to death, which makes him distrust women. In about 1880, Holmes solves the Musgrave Ritual case, along with the Farintosh case and the case for Mrs. Cecil Forrester (before she hires Mary Morstan). Holmes also meets Gregson and Lestrade, and employs the Baker Street Irregulars for the first time.
4. "For a moment I thought you had done something clever." (NAVA)
Some events of Watson's life after returning from Afghanistan in November 1880. The bull-pup in the hotel, the comfortless existence, spending too much money. After being introduced through Stamford, he agrees to share lodgings with Holmes. The very early days in Baker Street, with Watson too ill to walk his dog, and Holmes fearful that the dog will bite him. More about Mrs. Hudson's dog as well. An old, dying terrier. Holmes plays the prank on Watson, pretending to know nothing of Thomas Carlyle, or the solar system. But then again, maybe some of his knowledge is limited.
Rather than repeat the whole text of STUD, I will work around it, and add some speculations especially about Jefferson Hope and his ally. I have in mind a wronged Mormon ex-wife of Enoch Drebber, who provides a partial history which Doyle will eventually amplify and dramatize for the second part of STUD. Also, Holmes comments cynically on the concepts of revenge and love: "Vengeance. An ugly thing, for whatever reason. Can you imagine it, Watson? Such a love? But then love is a dangerous, consuming passion...."
Meanwhile, an interlude at Stoke Moran.
5. "I have all the facts in my journal, and the public shall know them." (STUD, Chap 7)
Watson begins chronicling his friend, though with not much support from Holmes. In Pall Mall, Sherlock discusses the good doctor with Mycroft, asking whether it is wise to reveal to Watson his "occasional, though unpleasant" habit. He and Watson continue sharing cases, and he mentions more of his monographs over the years. Earning more money now, Holmes also decides in 1882 to buy one of the houses that he uses as a refuge (to change into his disguises), and he lets the Irregulars live in the Lair, as they call it.
Wiggins becomes more independent as he grows up (about 15-ish), and he tells Holmes that he is adding a girl to the Irregulars now. Holmes is shocked and tries to forbid it, but Wiggins insists that he's in charge of the gang; Holmes is merely their occasional boss on cases. Wiggins met the girl and she provided helpful information in a case; therefore she has earned a place, and anyway she can help the boys do chores to take care of the Lair. Holmes still says that it shall be a disaster letting a girl live among the boys, but Wiggins says some of the boys have already decided to bring their sisters to live at the Lair with them. Holmes gives in, but complains of this to Watson. The boys are growing up and will want to find a new career when they are adults. Later Wiggins asks to speak to Watson about how to woo a girl, and Holmes realises that the boy is in love. Shakes his head sadly.
6. "...There are widespread rumours as to the death of Dr. Grimesby Roylott which tend to make the matter more terrible than the truth." (SPEC)
Begins with a scene of Helen Stoner's disorientation in the early hours of a certain April 1883 morning. This is the pivotal Speckled Band case.
A detailed retelling of SPEC, with some alterations about the snake and how the county police reacted to Roylott's death. As they leave Stoke Moran, Watson promises not to publish the case until after her death. After the inquest, Holmes visits Miss Stoner in Harrow to learn about the lies that she told. Because she is still upset and feeling guilty, Holmes suggests that she take a long holiday to New York. He'll write a letter of introduction for her to his American friends, and he jokingly suggests that she go see the new Brooklyn Bridge.
7. "That trick of his of suddenly breaking in on his friends' thoughts with an apropos remark after a quarter of an hour's silence is really very showy and superficial." (STUD, Chap 2)
Sometime before 1887, Holmes tells Watson about François le Villard, the French police detective who is consulting him on cases and translating Holmes's monographs. Watson seems put out, that Holmes is so quick to praise Villard's writings, but not Watson's.
Also, Holmes wants to distract Watson (and himself) from talking about Helen Stoner any more. To please and interest him, Holmes tells Watson the stories of GLOR and MUSG, but even still, he grates on Watson's nerves more and more lately. Once Watson discovers that Holmes takes cocaine and/or morphine, they fight, and Watson shows his watch to Holmes, to explain how his alcoholic brother declined. Holmes scoffs that it's not the same, and says that he's not addicted.
Meanwhile, Holmes carries on a correspondence with the still unmarried Helen Stoner, culminating in a planned visit for a month. While Holmes is away, Watson practices his "technique" of constructing intricate, elegant short stories, in order to relieve his continuing difficulties at writing the Study in Scarlet novel. He writes the fictional SILV, getting all the racing details wrong, but the style quite right.
8. "Men who had only known the quiet thinker and logician of Baker Street would have failed to recognize him." (BOSC)
During his visit to New York, Holmes feels genuine temptation, but abruptly retreats and has an unfortunate fight with Helen Stoner. (Irene Adler will also be in the background, having been jilted by the Crown Prince of Bohemia.) Calling Helen a cunning temptress, Holmes leaves her crying and heartbroken.
9. "Why should you, for a mere passing pleasure, risk the loss of those great powers with which you have been endowed?" (SIGN, Chap 1)
Return to a focus on cases, 1885-1887. (I'm also going to transplant the "Charles Augustus Milverton" adventure to here, on the assumption that the electric light switch was a red herring to chronologists.) Holmes avoids discussing the incidents of chapter 8 with Watson, and goes along with Watson's assumption that he is ill. Unable to sleep, Holmes starts wandering around London, then he begins investigating the criminal organization of Moriarty. Watson, meanwhile, has met a doctor named Conan Doyle, who helps to co-author his long unfinished novel. Also, in the spring of 1887, Watson goes so far as to leave Baker Street, only to be won back by Holmes's April collapse and the "Reigate Puzzle" adventure. "A strange brief affair."
Helen and Irene's activities will be alternated with the Watson/Holmes narrative. Helen returns to England to visit her aunt and to end her engagement to Percy Armitage. Irene also moves, hoping to get away from Wilhelm's burglary attempts. She buys her Briony Lodge house and consults a barrister named Godfrey Norton to ask if she can sue Wilhelm. Godfrey wonders why Irene doesn't just give back the letters and photo, but she refuses. Later, Helen gets engaged to Harry Tibbs (who has been promoted), but it ultimately ends unhappily, and she leaves for New York again.
10. "It is fortunate for this community that I am not a criminal." (BRUC)
The publication of STUD, followed by a crowd of pointless deaths. In January 1888, Holmes succeeds in solving VALL at Birlstone, but mere months later, John Douglas is lost at sea. Holmes believes that it was Moriarty's doing, but he has no solid evidence. He can only assure Cecil Barker that he'll keep searching for proof against Moriarty. Thinking it over, Barker complains that Holmes exposed Douglas's identity switch, and never warned them that Douglas would still be in imminent danger. Perhaps fed up with Holmes's methods, Barker becomes a private detective as well? Holmes's rival in RETI?
In the meantime, Holmes writes to the Pinkertons to inform them of the death of Birdy Edwards. Upset, they want to know if he has found the killer yet, or if he needs their assistance in tracking down the criminal. Holmes replies that he does know the murderer's identity, but he cannot name him, nor can he let Watson write and publish an account for them, because Moriarty no doubt would find a way to seize on any such words as libel. Nothing can be done publicly until Holmes has enough evidence to bring down Moriarty's whole organization. "There is nothing you can do. Please be patient."
Holmes introduces Watson to his brother Mycroft at last, and they investigate the GREE case. They only manage to save Mr. Melas from the charcoal, not Paul Kratides. The next day they go speak to Davenport, the man who answered the advertisement, and learn about Sophy's history. On hearing of Paul's death, Davenport is shocked and feels bad for not enquiring before about where Paul was. Davenport decides to inform Sophy's friends back in Greece about what happened, and they all start planning their revenge on Latimer and Kemp. (Months later, they send a newspaper clipping to 221B to show that Sophy killed her captors and escaped.)
Then, in a lull between cases, Holmes realizes that Porlock hasn't tried to contact him for a long time. He's probably in danger because of the cipher, so Holmes owes it to Porlock to seek him out this time, including discovering his real name. When he does, Holmes is not surprised to find out that Porlock is dead, and so Holmes tries to prove Porlock's murder by Moriarty. But he fails in this and is even temporarily discredited with Scotland Yard, who all believe him to be paranoid and wrong about Moriarty.
Feeling checkmated by the professor, Holmes slumps into depression, and resumes taking cocaine and morphine. That, and Watson's recent injury to his leg, make for a spell of bad-temper in Baker Street, only to be relieved in September 1888 by the arrival of Mary Morstan. SIGN, then NOBL.
Not sure if Holmes should renew his correspondence with Helen Stoner here, in chapter 9, or in chapter 11. It cannot be later than SCAN, because of the involvement of Irene Adler.
11."Intense mental concentration has a curious way of blotting out what has passed." (HOUN, Chap 5)
Watson's departure due to marriage, and his sending a new SIGN manuscript to his co-author, to help preserve the surprise for his bride. Doyle misunderstands the text and conflates Watson's leg injury with his war wound. (Or else say that Holmes insisted on the change, because he felt that W should not have told the public accurately about his war wound in STUD. Criminals would attack his weak spot to disable him.) Watson, however, did deliberately disguise some details of the case, such as lifting an earlier conversation about monographs and François le Villard, and pretending that the Irregulars haven't aged in seven years. The original Irregulars have indeed grown up; that's how Holmes was able to send a telegram to Wiggins, who does have a fixed address. New younger boys have been recruited to replace them, though Watson does not mention their names.
For months, Watson is rapt up in domestic bliss and his practice in Paddington, until he finally joins Holmes for SCAN in March of 1889. After such a long absence, Holmes is glad to see him, and is consequently rude to the King of Bohemia. "It is both or none," and he's casually dismissive of blackmail, when normally he would take it seriously. He wishes to shoo the King away so that he may be alone with Watson. However, the King insists, and Watson seems interested in the case, so Holmes realises that he can keep Watson hooked on the case. Holmes does not remember Irene Adler other than what is listed in his commonplace book, and he ignores a recent letter from Helen Stoner, so he does not realize that he shouldn't be helping the King.
The next day, Holmes witnesses a wedding between Irene Adler and Godfrey Norton, but instead of immediately telling the King this, he still arranges to trick her with the false alarm of fire. (The crowd of actors in the staged scene outside of Irene Adler's house are the grown-up Irregulars.) Holmes wants some adventurous fun with Watson, and that's also why he asks Watson to stay the night in Baker Street, and to retrieve the photo in the morning. He's still delaying his friend's departure.
When Holmes, Watson, and the King go to the house, they find that Irene has left with her husband by the 5:15 train. Holmes realises that he was wrong about Irene, and keeps her photo, but refuses to shake the King's hand. After he goes home and Watson leaves for Paddington again, Holmes removes Irene's photo from the frame and files it in his scrapbook. Then he belatedly opens his letter from Helen Stoner, only to be shocked. It turns out that Helen Stoner was the friend who had warned Irene Adler months ago that the King would try again to get the photo. (Helen had heard rumours of the King courting a princess, just as Holmes had already heard of the engagement, prior to the official announcement.) Helen also was the one who convinced Godfrey Norton to suddenly propose marriage. Holmes quickly writes her back (or telegrams her) to explain what happened, and to marvel at her manipulations.
Soon Helen Stoner learns through telegrams (in cipher) that the Nortons are going to fake their deaths to make sure that the King will leave them alone. They take Helen's last name and live on the Continent. The King returns to ask Holmes to investigate the fake deaths, because he is not entirely convinced by the news reports. Holmes already knows from Helen of the fake deaths and that the King is a bully. He pretends to investigate, then lies outright, claiming that he has proved that Irene is indeed dead. Out of gratitude for this second case, the King will later send a snuffbox to Holmes, which he accepts and gloats about, before explaining to Watson. Then he'll get rid of the snuffbox by selling it. Watson will later support the faked deaths by writing of the "late" Irene Adler in SCAN.
12. "I think she is one of the most charming women that I have ever met, and might have been useful in such work as we have been doing." (SIGN, Chap 12)
More cases of 1889, from the summer onward. Rather than be annoyed, Mary Watson takes an interest in Holmes's cases, encouraging John to join Holmes for BOSC. (Maybe there's some awkwardness when Holmes and Watson share rooms at the local inn.)
Mary even intervenes in IDEN's conclusion, to make sure that Mary Sutherland knows the truth about Hosmer Angel. This annoys Holmes greatly; he didn't mind learning about Helen's accidental interference, but he doesn't want to accept that degree of meddling from Watson's wife. He's already touchy about the stepfather, James Windibank, anyway.
In NAVA, the strong Annie Harrison contrasted with the weak Percy Phelps reminds Holmes of Helen Stoner, and her engagement to an unhelpful Percy. Thus Holmes is prone to reverie during the case. He even suddenly quotes from one of Helen Stoner's letters, concerning religion: "Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in flowers." Annie Harrison is annoyed and puzzled, though, and she doesn't like his joke about "suspecting [him]self" either. She sternly tells him to go to London to test his conclusions, and Holmes cheerfully obeys.
When travelling by train by the boarding schools, Holmes tells Watson that they are "light-houses, my boy!" So they make some inquiries with the police and Lord Holdhurst, before going back to see Phelps the next day. Learning of the burglary attempt, Holmes suggests taking Percy to London, but it's really just a fake-out, and he relies on Annie Harrison to keep the room occupied until night. Then Holmes captures Joseph Harrison alone, but gets cut. He then brings the treaty to London and maliciously shocks Percy with it.
After Percy leaves to return the treaty to Lord Holdhurst, Watson checks Holmes's bandaged hand and also admonishes him for the prank. Percy's in delicate health and could have had a relapse of brain fever. Holmes shrugs and apologises absently. He asks if Watson thinks that Percy shall still marry Annie or if his uncle will disapprove because of her brother the thief?
Surprised by the question, Watson speculates that they'll likely hush up the scandal as much as possible, and that since Annie was innocent of the theft, and even helpful in setting Holmes's trap, Percy will surely show her loyalty too.
"Ah, I suppose so." Holmes drifts into another reverie. He thinks of Helen again, and once Watson leaves, Holmes writes to her. Not mentioning the moss-rose speech, he asks if she ever regrets how her life turned out. If she had married Percy, she could have had a normal, happy life. She could have had children by now. Helen doubts that, but changes the subject and says that she is happy and satisfied enough. In her Christian charity work, she has rekindled her faith and feels purposeful again. Holmes accepts that answer, but privately still feels guilty about how he treated her.
In the autumn of 1889, three more cases in a row result in pointless deaths, making Holmes a little in doubt of his powers. (These cases are FIVE, HOUN, and a case of my own fabrication, involving Diana Struthers.) Helen reassures him, but he fears that this is becoming an unfortunate pattern, like VALL & GREE cases in early 1888.
13. "But you must give me time--you must give me time!" (VALL, Epilogue)
Watson moves his practice from Paddington to Kensington in early 1890, and must keep working at it diligently, to establish himself there. Therefore he cannot visit Holmes for the early part of the year. However, Holmes believes that Watson is trying to avoid him, by moving farther away from Baker Street. So Holmes responds by not inviting Watson over for cases, and that's why they only have three cases together in 1890. (In FINA, Watson writes of Holmes's invitations being less frequent, but does not explain why he doesn't drop by uninvited.)
Also, realizing that Watson is happy in his marriage, Holmes decides that he must finally move on with his own life. Seeking forgiveness, he cautiously writes to Helen Stoner about how badly he treated her when they kissed in New York. Intrigued by his penitent telegram, she asks him to elaborate, and so in a letter, he openly apologises and expresses his love. Now he mentions the moss-rose speech from NAVA. She accepts his apology and decides to come visit him (sometime after the February publication of SIGN--perhaps in the summer). They reunite and he proposes to her. She refuses but inquires about his health. He is forced to confess about his drug use, and she tells him that he ought to go to Watson for help in curing his addiction. He is reluctant, and they briefly argue before making up. They get engaged and spend the night together.
The next day, Holmes departs to work on his long-standing Moriarty case again; he doesn't want to leave it unresolved, since he intends to marry Helen Stoner, then move to New York with her. Helen meanwhile visits her aunt and communicates through cipher telegrams with Irene and Godfrey again. They are happy for her and consider whether it is safe to travel back to England for the wedding.
Holmes at first nervously avoids Watson, and he makes arrangements with Wiggins about the current Irregulars, since he'll be effectively retiring and leaving them on their own. Eventually, Watson does drop by for REDH and two other cases. During the last case, Holmes finally confesses about his engagement and Watson congratulates him, but warns Holmes to take better care of himself. Holmes nods but has to quell his lingering feelings about Watson. He was trying to move on, after all, and clearly Watson shall not return to him.
14. "Work is the best antidote to sorrow." (EMPT)
A tragedy and a new chess game with Moriarty. In early January of 1891, Holmes learns of Helen Stoner's sudden death while travelling to visit Irene and Godfrey. Due to Inspector Lestrade's ill-timed breaking in upon Holmes's shock and grief, he takes on a new case. Then Holmes recklessly and boldly renews his assault on the old professor. He doesn't even stop to inform Watson of Helen's death, just disappearing to France again, as he looks into Moriarty's banks on the Continent. Perhaps Helen's aunt Honoria tries to write to Holmes and visit him, but he's nowhere to be found, and he doesn't read any of her messages.
On April 24th, Holmes returns to England and updates Watson on his progress against Moriarty. Holmes is finally close to capturing Moriarty, but Moriarty is also angry enough to try killing him. Having no time to wait for Mary's return after the arson in Baker Street, they hurry to the Continent. After Monday, Holmes tries to convince Watson to go home, but Watson refuses, and they keep travelling from hotel to hotel. Eventually, Holmes confesses about Helen's death, and Watson comforts him. Holmes is aware, though, that Mary is pregnant, and H decides that Watson would be better off without him. Holmes cannot keep taking him away from his family obligations, and Holmes feels that he has nothing to live for once Moriarty is defeated.
15."He is lost if he returns to London." (FINA)
Events at Reichenbach Falls and their after-effects. After accidentally faking his death, Holmes hides away with Struthers and tries to get over his misery. Watson mourns and returns to England. Mary comforts him as best as she can.
16. "Some facts should be suppressed, or, at least, a just sense of proportion should be observed in treating them." (SIGN, Chap 1)
The downfall of Moriarty's organization, as the agents are tried and convicted for their numerous crimes. I will make the rather shocking claim that all the professor's agents were captured by the police, and that Colonel Moran was hanged, though not before Doyle sketched the villain's profile, and wrote down the details of his infamous skill with his air gun. Doyle is fascinated by the drama unfolding during the trials, and he urges Watson to spend more time at court, to help record these facts for posterity.
Watson is rather too busy, though, mainly concentrating on publishing his short stories as a tribute to Holmes. He refuses to mention Holmes's death in the stories, and writes as if Holmes were alive and well, in fact. He also learns from Mary that she is expecting a baby, but it slightly adds to his grief, because he wishes that Holmes had lived to see their child born. So many distractions, and his need for discretion, mean that the dates he gives for the "Adventures" cases are "incoherent" and contradictory.
Since the sad memorial for his brother, Mycroft has been supervising the restoration of 221B for Mrs. Hudson, because the arson in FINA did do some real damage. For some reason, Mycroft decides to maintain the rooms. In tribute also? Or because he finds the unread messages from Honoria Westphail and is shocked by the mention of the planned wedding and move. He can't believe that Sherlock actually was so involved with Helen Stoner, all these years after her case. So that's why Sherlock asked for their mother's wedding ring recently; he had thought that Sherlock merely wanted to use it for a case again, like in STUD when it doubled for Lucy Ferrier's ring. Perhaps Mycroft discusses this with Watson, and is hurt that Sherlock never saw fit to tell his own brother about it. Perhaps Sherlock was still smarting from how Mycroft had discouraged Sherlock's interest in Helen back in 1883.
Meanwhile in Europe, Struthers finds herself coping with Holmes's bitter confessions and brooding. She even buys him a violin, hoping to soothe him and prod him into some kind of activity. He sarcastically replies with a list of possible grandiose feats that he might embark upon--a list that bears striking similarity to the exploits of "Sigerson" that Watson would publish over ten years later in the EMPT story.
17."...I have only been freed during the last month by the untimely death of the lady to whom the pledge was given." (SPEC)
A secret trip to England, in hopes of breaking Holmes out his pattern of pitiful morbidity and guilt. Struthers takes Holmes back to Harrow, to retrieve various letters and journals of Helen's from her aunt Honoria Westphail. Everything had been shipped over from New York, and Honoria had been trying to contact Holmes for months now, to give such private items to him, but had been ignored thoroughly by Holmes. When they visit, Holmes is in disguise, or claims to be his own brother/cousin, so that Honoria Westphail does not suspect that he is alive. Taking the items back to Struthers's old house in England, they sit and examine them. Holmes grieves and broods some more. Struthers makes him confront his pain face-on, and shares her own regrets about her love life.
Both in sore need of a break, they decide to visit America, only mailing to Watson a notebook which he had left with Helen Stoner back in 1883. When Watson receives it, he assumes that the aunt sent it, and for a while he struggles about whether he should write the tale at all, out of respect for Holmes's feelings. Finally he decides to go ahead, to correct the error of the wrong verdict at the inquest; Holmes is dead anyway, and cannot now get into trouble for killing (or at least appearing to deliberately kill) Roylott. Watson writes the tale, but will slightly alter some details about the snake solution, and will not point out Holmes's error about the milk. Most people only know the myths about snakes, after all. He leaves Holmes's reputation intact, and doesn't mention the relationship afterward, for privacy's sake.
18."I should prefer having a partner to being alone." (STUD, Chap 1)
Suddenly, the Watsons suffer their own tragedy. Mary Watson miscarries that autumn, barely surviving the childbirth herself. Mary is distraught and haunted by the loss of their child, while John searches for some way to comfort her. Between his practice and his attempts to finish off some bits of writing, he finds it difficult to be with her often enough. Finally, he sends Doyle his tin-dispatch box and tells him to pick and choose whichever cases he liked out of the manuscripts, but to only make sure to change names and use any necessary discretion. Watson simply doesn't have the time, and he wishes to take Mary away somewhere for some peace and quiet. So they leave Kensington for a while, and Doyle fixes up the last few "Adventures" for publication in 1892. Also, he should get started on the Memoirs, too, publishing SILV, without realizing that it's fiction.
19. "I guess most men have a little private reserve of their own in some corner of their souls where they don't welcome intruders." (THOR)
The American trip, as well as the Watsons' activities. Once Mary is recovered, they return home; the Kensington practice has of course collapsed during John's absence. Doyle has told Watson of the high demand for more stories, and Watson agrees to write them, since they need the money until he builds up his practice again.
Even as the "Yellow Face" adventure is published, Holmes and Struthers ramble through Atlanta, the home of Effie Munro's first husband John Hebron. Holmes talks of his parents' mysterious death in America, and the old curiosity he had. He begins looking into the records to find out the truth; soon he finally feels that he can go on living, despite his heartbreak.
Then Watson reluctantly writes of Holmes's death, in response to Professor Moriarty's brother the Colonel. FINA is published in Dec 1893, two and a half years after Reichenbach.
20."Journeys end in lovers' meetings." (EMPT)
Holmes's 1894 return. Reading Watson's moving account of his death, Holmes cannot believe that Watson is still grieving over him. Cannot continue deceiving him, so he decides to go home to England. Struthers gladly withdraws back to her house again, to give him privacy, but they are friends enough now that she expects to see him again and help, should Watson refuse to forgive him.
Holmes sees Mrs. Hudson first at Baker Street (or maybe he should see Mycroft first?), then goes to see Watson at his house. Worried, but then he recounts his activities to Watson, who understands his grief over Helen Stoner, but is angry about Holmes still deceiving him for the rest of the three years. "Struthers did tell me repeatedly to tell you that I was alive, but I was afraid to, Watson. I couldn't face you." Holmes says that he assumed Watson would be happy and busy, with the baby. Watson interrupts and explains about their "bereavement"; the miscarriage.
Holmes is stunned and even more apologetic; Watson softens a little, but then goes to tell Mary the news (by writing a telegram). She is alive and is only visiting Mrs. Cecil Forrester again. Still feeling sad and empty. Holmes says that they should try again for a baby. "If ever a man was meant to be a father, you were." Watson is touched and hugs him for the first time since his return.
Not sure if there should be an actual case in Camden House, or if all of EMPT was pure fiction. If there is a Ronald Adair case, perhaps Doyle suggested substituting Moran for the murderer, and Watson agreed. Why the delay of ten years to publish EMPT?
Holmes then introduces Watson to Struthers. She visits and asks Holmes if he wants to move Helen's things over to Baker Street, or get rid of all the old journals and move on with his life. He decides to keep some mementos, but lets go of the rest. Struthers decides to sell her own house and move to a flat in London, to move on from her old lost love Charlie as well. Holmes visits Lestrade to let Scotland Yard know of his return. Starts to take new cases again, with both Struthers and Watson visiting. Holmes pays for Verner to buy the practice, so that the Watsons will move to Queen Anne Street, closer to Baker Street than Kensington. In about 1895, when Watson approves, Holmes decides to pursue Struthers romantically. The Watsons have a baby at last, and everyone celebrates.
21. "You are developing a certain unexpected vein of pawky humour, Watson..." (VALL, Chap 1)
Post-return cases, the turn of the century, and finally Watson's venture into publication again, beginning with Hound of the Baskervilles. Finally Holmes grants permission to reveal publicly that he is alive, so Doyle and Watson construct EMPT together. Because Mary no longer wishes their family life to be included in the tales (in case they suffer some other tragedy), W writes for a period as if he has moved back to Baker Street, when he has not actually. He omits mentioning Struthers as well, and does not revisit the issue of Helen Stoner, at Holmes's request. Does not want to stir up the memories anew.
22. "We have not yet grasped the results that reason alone can attain to." (VALL)
My speculations on Holmes's retirement in 1903. LAST in 1912-1914; Watson tries to join the medical corps, but is rejected? Reunion after the publication of VALL.
At a later time, I may revisit the outline again when I make plot changes or choose different quotations. I may even change chapter numbers, delete chapters, or break long chapters up into smaller chapters. But for now, this is what I've got.