Sunday, January 31, 2021

The Adventure of the Copper Beeches – a Sherlock Holmes short story

"The Adventure of the Copper Beeches" is a Sherlock Holmes short story from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes collection. According to The Annotated Sherlock Holmes, it was Holmes 21st case chronologically.

 

I haven’t read Holmes in quite a while, and was excited to get back to the intrepid detective. Holmes seldom disappoints, but in this instance, he did.

 

Violet Hunter is a governess, and paid well above the going rate as long as she satisfies the seemingly harmless, but eccentric, wishes of her employer: cut her hair very short, wear a certain dress, sit at times in a certain spot. She becomes aware of a mysterious secret in a closed off section of the house and enlists Holmes to solve the mystery. 

 

He does of course, simply by investigating the house, when the master is away. There is very little of the amusing banter between Holmes and Watson, and little of Holmes legendary power of observation and deduction.

 

Nothing worth quoting; the illustrations by Sidney Paget fail to excite, and even
the title lacks creativity; it references copper colored beeches that adorn the lawn, but have no other significance. 

 

I must have been an off-day for Sir Arthur.

 

In a word…meh.

 

5 comments:

  1. I vaguely remember this one. Haha, yeah, maybe Conan Doyle was either having an off day or writing to publishing deadline uninspired or both.

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  2. Oddly, I really like this one. I think the title references not only the trees outside the house, but the damsel in distress -- like the beeches, whose copper-colored leaves fall every year, she "drops" her beautiful red hair. I find this one very chilling because of the mind games played by her employer, the way he is abusing his daughter, and the way he's getting away with this behavior until Holmes comes on the scene.

    Isn't this the one where Holmes makes his observation about how lonely houses out in the country frighten him far more than busy city streets?

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    1. Yeah, but you don't even like potatoes, so we can't really trust your judgement ;) But seriously, that's an astute theory regarding the title...could be. And, I found the events exciting, and I wanted to understand the mystery...mostly I felt there wasn't much of Holme's legendary deduction. He discerned that Violet was supposed to be passing as someone else - I figured that out - but otherwise, Holmes and Watson just so up, do an illegal search, break and enter, and then get the stories from the principals. Glad you like it though.

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    2. And you DO like potatoes, so I probably can't trust your judgment either! ;-)

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