Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Binker

The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

Recommended Posts

"The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" ended with a bang for me.  This is another one of my favorites, although it doesn't get the fandom of "Scandal in Bohemia" and "The Speckled Band."  It's another one that focuses on the nefarious efforts of parents to get their hands on their daughter's money.

 

I remember when I first read this story as a young teenager having no idea what the family was up to.  So the solution, once presented, was shocking to me.  Now that I've read a bit more about the era (and focused on these stories, for which the perilous state of young women is a theme), it's relatively easy to spot.  But good for Holmes for being worried about it.  And of course, this is another plucky girl, which Holmes and Watson (and probably, therefore, Conan Doyle) seem to admire so much.

 

I did look up what "Copper Beeches" look like on my tablet.  Very pretty.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" ended with a bang for me.  This is another one of my favorites, although it doesn't get the fandom of "Scandal in Bohemia" and "The Speckled Band."  It's another one that focuses on the nefarious efforts of parents to get their hands on their daughter's money.

 

I remember when I first read this story as a young teenager having no idea what the family was up to.  So the solution, once presented, was shocking to me.  Now that I've read a bit more about the era (and focused on these stories, for which the perilous state of young women is a theme), it's relatively easy to spot.  But good for Holmes for being worried about it.  And of course, this is another plucky girl, which Holmes and Watson (and probably, therefore, Conan Doyle) seem to admire so much.

 

I did look up what "Copper Beeches" look like on my tablet.  Very pretty.

 

I finished this story today and really enjoyed it.  Like Binker I have read a bit about this era and do enjoy the stories which focus on the lack of any choice or independence that women of this time had even if they inherited money.  I think that this must have been an issue that weighed heavily with Conan Doyle as a number of the stories seem to have this as their basis.  Having just finished reading The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins as well as a number of these stories I do count myself very lucky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As already commented on above, an excellent finish to the Adventures.

I thought the opening was brilliant:

- a terrifically long sentence of 95 words, leading to

- a wee misunderstanding between Holmes and Watson, leading to

- a lovely description of a chilly, foggy, wet, grey morning, leading to

- an acknowledgement that many of the 'crimes' so far committed "were outside the pale of the law".

Best of all is that Holmes really miscalculates this one which, far from being dull, boring, predictable finds him again facing an "exceptional" young woman with strength, courage and intelligence.

In the concluding paragraph, do we glimpse a spot of match-making here? "As to Miss Violet Hunter, my friend Holmes, rather to my disappointment, manifested no further interest in her [...]".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As already commented on above, an excellent finish to the Adventures.

I thought the opening was brilliant:

- a terrifically long sentence of 95 words, leading to

- a wee misunderstanding between Holmes and Watson, leading to

- a lovely description of a chilly, foggy, wet, grey morning, leading to

- an acknowledgement that many of the 'crimes' so far committed "were outside the pale of the law".

Best of all is that Holmes really miscalculates this one which, far from being dull, boring, predictable finds him again facing an "exceptional" young woman with strength, courage and intelligence.

In the concluding paragraph, do we glimpse a spot of match-making here? "As to Miss Violet Hunter, my friend Holmes, rather to my disappointment, manifested no further interest in her [...]".

 

Good old Watson.  He really does see things from a more human perspective doesn't he?  As much as I would like Holmes to soften I do not think that it would have worked at all.  There is no way that Holmes could become emotionally involved in any of his cases without the whole concept of his character falling apart.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good old Watson.  He really does see things from a more human perspective doesn't he?  As much as I would like Holmes to soften I do not think that it would have worked at all.  There is no way that Holmes could become emotionally involved in any of his cases without the whole concept of his character falling apart.

 

True that Holmes would prove a woeful lover. But, we can't blame Watson for trying, given that his own love life seems to be pretty okay.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

True that Holmes would prove a woeful lover. But, we can't blame Watson for trying, given that his own love life seems to be pretty okay.

Yes Watson does seem to have a far more normal life than Holmes and seems far more grounded. However, Holmes is portrayed as a bit of genius. Really brilliant people are often a bit disconnected from the real world and I think that we have to treat the character of Holmes in this light.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember when I first read this story as a young teenager having no idea what the family was up to.  So the solution, once presented, was shocking to me.  Now that I've read a bit more about the era (and focused on these stories, for which the perilous state of young women is a theme), it's relatively easy to spot.

I love this aspect of re-reading stories after a good lapse of time. What was totally puzzling at a younger age falls neatly into place with experience!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was great to have a strong story to end the collection and it was wonderful to see Holmes wrong footed in his expectations of the case.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I liked the opening of this story as it's the nearest that Holmes and Watson come to a bit of a disagreement where Holmes is suggesting that Watson 'embroiders' the documenting of the different cases.  Watson counters with the fact that it makes them more interesting and I think that would be the case.

 

I was a bit surprised to find that Halifax, Nova Scotia was in America, where Colonel received an appointment and took his children with him.  I think the Haligonians might disagree with that one.

 

This was an interesting and perhaps a bit more involved tale which didn't give up its mystery immediately.  I have to confess that I think my mind might have wandered a bit as I couldn't remember reading who it was that told Mr. Fowler where Miss Rucastle was being kept and that was how her escape was engineered.  So going back to the book I found that Mr. Fowler had, in fact, kept Mr. Toller in his favourite tipple by the sound of it and got the information from him.  The book was close to being a Victorian horror story with the captive locked in a room and a person brought in to impersonate her.  Very strange circumstances that Miss Stoper found herself in but as she was really strapped for money she didn't have a lot of choice.  The child sounded like a real nasty little person so I imagine her life wasn't too easy but it all worked out in the end.

 

I did enjoy this book read but have to say I'm glad I've finished it so that it now doesn't sit and make me feel uncomfortable when reading another book.   :arms:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have now finished this story and enjoyed it. Like Momac "I'm glad I've finished it so that it now doesn't sit and make me feel uncomfortable when reading another book. " :arms:

I'm also glad that I had something else to read in between.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have now finished this story and enjoyed it. Like Momac "I'm glad I've finished it so that it now doesn't sit and make me feel uncomfortable when reading another book. " :arms:

I'm also glad that I had something else to read in between.

Yes Luna I agree that the stories are best read around other books. I have carried on with the Memoires again while reading other books. This story seemed to have its basis in the lack of financial independence of women of the time. This has seemed to be the basic theme of a number of the stories. If read back to back I think that some of the stories could become a little repetitive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes Luna I agree that the stories are best read around other books. I have carried on with the Memoires again while reading other books. This story seemed to have its basis in the lack of financial independence of women of the time. This has seemed to be the basic theme of a number of the stories. If read back to back I think that some of the stories could become a little repetitive.

Yes, repetitive was the word I was after.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By canongatebooks
      Hello! The next book up for grabs is The Complete Brigadier Gerard, a rousing tale of heroism and gallantry (tongue firmly in cheek) from the author of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, Arthur Conan Doyle:



      Mon Dieu! The extraordinary, sabre-rattling adventures of Gerard, a young French cavalry officer in the time of the Napoleonic wars, introduce a hero who will be adored by fans of Flashman and Sherlock Holmes alike. Gathered here in one edition are both volumes of Conan Doyle's much loved tales, which will delight modern readers with their absurdist humour, infectious warmth and swash-buckling energy.

      We've got ten copies to give away to BGO subscribers who are based in UK/Europe. Please claim your copy by (1) posting a reply in this thread and (2) sending me a PM. The giveaway closes 27 June 2010!
    • By Adrian
      This is for people who have read just the first few chapters. If you haven't yet, reading the following will be a spoiler.





      I watched the R&J review and have bought the book. So far I'm maybe a dozen pages into it.

      I'm not loving the double first-person narrative. It reminds me of Kevin Sampson's Outlaws, where the same story is told from multiple viewpoints. I find it just detracts from the story, and makes the book feel a bit gimmicky. Maybe it'll grow on me as I read more, and it certainly won't stop me reading it.

      Secondly, I'm not yet buying into this "Chrono-Displacement Disorder" plot device. It's too Sci-Fi for my liking, and just too "handy" for the author: "I need to have the guy time travel, so here's how I've made it happen." I'm hoping it's resolved later on. If it's a premise I have to swallow just so the book could be written I'll be disappointed.

      As you might have guessed, I'm not wholly convinced just yet.

      What's your first impressions of the book?
    • By Adrian
      I'm about halfway through (he's spending Christmas with her family and has just found out her Mum's a manic depressive - and after reading this book, love, so am I), and unless I get I get some positive feedback here, I'm giving up.

      I posted my first impressions earlier, and I'm afraid it's getting worse.

      Firstly it didn't grab me from the start and I read other books inbetween - always a bad sign. Still, I vowed to stick with it, and once I got past the awkward narrative structure it improved. The enforced double-narrative seemed a little contrived, and I felt whenever the authour switched voices in mid-scene Niffenegger was really forcing the change of voice to make it obvious it was now the other person narrating. Seemed a bit like Kevin Samson writing in Outlaws, where each narrator gets his own unique voice.

      Secondly, the basic premise of the novel, time travel, is mishandled and cack-handedly written. Two versions of himself in the same time frame? (Believe me ladies, if we could do that to ourselves the human race would be extinct). Some evolutionary mishap in the human genome being allowed to rewrite the laws of physics? Those I could live with, but TTW is just an affront to basic common sense. I keep asking myself questions instead of losing myself in the book. Why just appear now? Why just disappear now? More important is the where? How does he go to a particular place as well a particular time?

      Also, the nastiness of the bloke: "I can't help myself so I can do whatever I like." Beat people up? Sure! Rob and steal? Why not! Buy stocks cheap? Who wouldn't! Run naked through the neighbourhood? Well, I tried this, and the police would just not believe my story!

      Most importantly, I don't care about the love story. So he loves her and they love each other, and so forth. I find both of them so insufferable that I don't care about their relationship(s).

      I'm half-heartedly interested in the secondary goings on. I like Kimy, and I like Clare's room-mate, but can't stand the room-mate's boyfriend.

      My current thinking is, "This is not a book to tossed away lightly. It is to hurled with great force."

      I'd like either an incentive to finish it (bearing in mind I have a long list of others waiting on my TBR pile) or, preferably, a precis of the ending. I'm guessing she dies of some disease he can't prevent, and he knows it (of course he knows it, he just can't get involved in any ethical situation that would ruin the house-of-cards plot), but doesn't tell her.

      God, I hate them both. Hey Audrey, try going back in time before Stephen Fry wrote Making History.
    • By Mad Dog & Glory
      Having finally finished The Time Traveler's Wife last night (yes, I know, I'm a bit behind), I was left feeling a little dissatisfied. I loved it for around 200 pages, but then I thought it tailed off badly and left a lot of unanswered questions. Not only the time travel - I had no problems with suspending disbelief, although the most unbelievable part was that they were allowed to lead a 'normal' life, rather than Henry being captured and studied by the US government.

      It's the so-called 'normal' life that concerns me. It seems incredible that I could read a 500+ page novel centring almost exclusively on two characters, and at the end not really have much of an idea of each other's personalities or how they went about their daily lives. At one point, Henry buys a lottery ticket knowing the result and wins several million dollars, so Clare can have a studio. No other mention is made of this. So are they millionaires? They seem to live in normal-sized house, in a normal street. So what do they do with themselves when Henry isn't time travelling? They're not watching TV, as Henry can't. They can't spend all of their time in bed.

      The other huge problem with the novel is lack of conflict, which is essential to all drama. Henry and Clare have this 'perfect' relationship, and are only unhappy with each other over the miscarriages. There were all sorts of potential themes and conflicts that Niffenegger shied away from. Why does Clare never question the fact that this man came into her life at the age of 5 and, as they say, ruined her for other men?
      Niffenegger seems so intent on making this the perfect love story that she misses a lot of tricks.

      My guess is that Audrey Niffenegger will be a one-hit wonder. She came up with a brilliant idea, and also came up with a good structure (although some disagree), and played out every permutation of time travelling possible. But in the end a great idea can get you only so far, and I don't feel she has the skills as a novelist to get as much out of the story as was potentially there.
×