31 January 2018
Discussion Questions – The Beekeeper’s Apprentice
1. Setting—Place and Time
How do the change in landscape (London to Sussex) and the change in time (Victorian England of the 1880s-90s and WWI) affect the characters and the events of the stories?
The change in landscape from London to Sussex effects the events in the story because in London their location was in the middle of the busy city and they lived in a small apartment in Baker’s Street. In Sussex they are in a location that is known for its seaside and seaside resorts and they probably have a small cottage because they “had some desire to view the sea” (57). This shows a more laid back lifestyle and we know that Sherlock is retired so this fits in with the story. The landscape also helps us go into new types of crimes. For example, instead of murders and things associated with the busy city life we see more rural crimes like the mystery of the spy. Sherlock even says the “manor house was three miles away by road and we walked silently along the grass verge.” Which shows how the landscape has changed (63). The change in time from the Victorian England of the 1880’s and 90’s to WW1 also ties into the different types of crimes that we see in this story. Before we did not deal with spies and things that have to do with war. The earlier crimes were murders or kidnapping cases.
How does prior knowledge from the Conan-Doyle stories affect our understanding of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice? What familiar ideas about observation and detection does The Beekeeper’s Apprentice explore? How does it explore them?
The reader’s prior knowledge from the Conan Doyle stories affects their understanding of the Beekeeper’s apprentice because the readers know how Sherlock works his cases. He chooses a case that he is interested in and then visits the place where the “crime” has occurred and then looks at all the facts and evidence around him to come to a conclusion. The readers are used to this time of detective work and so the Beekeeper’s Apprentice explores some of these ideas. Some ideas include experimentation and we see this when Sherlock is finding the poison out and says “We’ll repeat it every twenty minutes until we see some results” and observation and we see this frequently(67). One example of this is when Sherlock says he “opened one after another of the multitude of scents..” and this not only shows observation but sleuthing which is another way Sherlock figures his cases out (67).
3. Social Issues
How does The Beekeeper’s Apprentice engage social issues like war, human behavior, gender, and class?
The Beekeeper’s Apprentice engages in social issues like war by bringing the fact that there are spies which shows that this is something that isn’t happening far away but right under their noses. This gives the readers a sense of reality about what they are reading because all the mysteries are things that could possibly happen. Human behavior is also something that is not always perfect and usually we see that the main characters of books are flawless, however, in this novel we see that Sherlock Holmes in not in fact perfect but far away from that. He does drugs and is often times hard to find. Gender and class is also brought in because they are both issues that are very real and to create a fictional world without the use of a “butler” or someone of a lower class would be ignorant (67).