Re-reading the original Sherlock Holmes stories. It’s perfect timing that this is the week of Halloween and I’m reading The Copper Beeches, because here’s a creepy, gloomy mystery.
Facts of the case: A woman, Miss Hunter, comes to Holmes and Watson for help. Desperate for work, she’s taken a job as a governess for a strange family, who’ve asked her to cut her hair short and replace all her clothes with what they want her to wear. That, plus a giant dog guarding the house at night, has Hunter fearing she’s in danger.
Good doctor: The story begins with a lengthy discussion between Holmes and Watson about the stories Watson writes about Holmes for the Strand Magazine, and whether Watson sensationalizes what really happened.
Action hero: The giant dog gets loose at the end, and Watson is quick to pull out his gun and blow its brains out. I’m not exaggerating, the text actually says, “I blew its brains out.”
Yes, this is canon: Watson thinks that Holmes and Miss Hunter might become an item, as he says he’s disappointed when the two part ways at the end. She does demonstrate observational skills which Holmes appreciates, so maybe there was something there.
Indubitably: This is a great story, with a lot of creepy atmosphere and fun character moments. The first seeds of Hound of the Baskervilles are definitely planted here.
Next week: A day at the races.
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