Staff Pick – The Final Solution: a story of detection by Michael Chabon

The Final Solution: a story of detection (M) features an aged Sherlock Holmes—well, the novel never actually says his name, it just calls him “the old man,” but it’s pretty obvious it’s either him or someone exactly like him.

He’s watching the street outside his window one day when he sees a little boy with an African parrot on his shoulder walk by. It turns out the boy is mute, and the parrot only speaks in strings of German numbers. Naturally, his curiosity is aroused, and pretty soon a bird-napping and murder are involved.

Although the mystery here is pretty intriguing and saddening with all the hints of the mistreatment of Jews (I mean, have a look at that title), it’s the characterizations that really stole my heart, particularly of Holmes and Linus, the little boy. What touched me most were the oblique references to Holmes’ past, including two or three little hints at his friendship with Watson. It does make me sad, though, because while Holmes is still remembered as a legend, his retired life seems very lonely without Watson or other familiar characters there.

~ Ashlee

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