Books to Read Before You Die #1: The Final Solution by Michael Chabon
In deep retirement in the English country-side, an eighty-nine-year-old man, vaguely recollected by locals as a once-famous detective, is more concerned with his beekeeping than with his fellow man. Into his life wanders Linus Steinman, nine years old and mute, who has escaped from Nazi Germany with his sole companion: an African gray parrot. What is the meaning of the mysterious strings of German numbers the bird spews out — a top-secret SS code? The keys to a series of Swiss bank accounts perhaps? Or something more sinister? Is the solution to this last case — the real explanation of the mysterious boy and his parrot — beyond even the reach of the once-famed sleuth?
Michael Chabon’s novelette pays homage to the writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in linguistic style and the appearance of an elderly detective, who is never named, but bears more than a passing resemblance to Conan Doyle’s most famous creation. The name of the book also plays on the title of the famous Holmes story “The Final Problem”. It is an elegant, haunting, sometimes unsettling detective story where there is no neat solution, where the vast crime behind the story is too much for even the Detective to comprehend.