The Copper Beeches


Basic Information

Abbreviation: COPP (J. F. Christ, 1947)
Word length: 9,948 (C. E. Lauterbach, 1960)
First published: Strand Magazine, June 1892

Discussion Questions

  • Through the eyes of Holmes, what is the relationship between the countryside and the law?
  • Do you think Holmes’ ideas of crime in the city vs. the country could still apply today? If so, why?
  • In what way does the mistreatment of animals (the child mistreating small creatures) and the Rucastle’s mistreating the dog) relate to what happens in the story?
  • When Holmes says, “Data! data! data! [...] I can’t make bricks without clay.” — what does this suggest about Holmes’ desire for concrete evidence before coming to a conclusion?
  • When female characters act to progress to the plot, it is often described as “woman’s instinct.” What does this suggest about gender roles of the time?
  • Describe the irony that Mr. Rucastle survives, but is “kept alive solely by the care of his devoted wife.”
  • If this crime were to have taken place in the city, how could it have unfolded differently?