So far, I’ve only briefly mentioned that there are quite a few episodes with references – both possible and impossible ones. But there are also a certain number of episodes – 17 to be exact – that do not have references to specific dates, years or historical events (that I have been able to find!). Then the question becomes: What to do?
I’ve decided that in my chronology, these episodes are ‘free’, in the sense that I can place them where it best suits the chronology. I’ve tried to take things like weather, introduction of characters and the use of specific buildings (like BBC’s broadcasting house, famous Art Deco buildings etc.) into account, but mostly I just place them where they fit with the rest of the episodes. Of course, placing episodes where they fit is also something I do with the ones that only have a reference to a year, not a month or a day. And I’ve even had to ignore some specific references in some very special cases (see this post and this post). But my random placing of episodes is especially frequent when it comes to these “no reference”-episodes. I hope you’ll agree that that’s the best solution.
Now, whether my placement is random or not is arguable. I have, in fact, tried to make these episodes fit with my over-all chronology of Poirot’s life (see 'Poirot Timeline'), in the sense that I’ve placed most of them between 1928 and 1933. In my opinion, it is possible to imagine that Poirot moves into Whitehaven Mansions as early as 1928 (yes, I know the actual building used as the location, Florin Court, wasn't built until the mid-1930s!), and acquires Miss Lemon as his secretary. As mentioned in my suggested timeline, Poirot has had several cases that have not been recorded by Hastings/Christie. These cases have provided him with enough money to buy/rent this undoubtedly expensive flat. Whether you agree with this explanation or not is your choice. But I find that it makes better sense than forcing these episodes into the already crowded late 1930s setting (although I’m certain that’s what the producers / script writers would want me to do).
Arguably, the opening scene of Lord Edgware Dies supports my idea. Here, we see Miss Lemon supervising the moving-back-in of the boxes from her filing system of Poirot’s cases. One box in particular is shown on screen (and discussed). The label clearly shows that Poirot has had cases from at least 1928 and onwards:
The ‘no reference’-episodes include:
The Adventure of Johnnie Waverly
The Mystery of the Spanish Chest
The Cornish Mystery
The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge
The Plymouth Express
The King of Clubs
The Third-Floor Flat
The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim
Problem at Sea
The Adventure of the Western Star
The Double Clue
The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan
Peril at End House
Taken at the Flood
Cards on the Table
Three Act Tragedy