My love for Michael Chabon has been well documented on CBR. While I enjoyed this novella — my main complaint is its incredible brevity (which I know is the point of a novella, but still) — it definitely wasn’t one of my favorites of his. True, it’s skewed towards a younger audience, but so was Summerland and I loved that book so much that it made my husband jealous.
“A bitter, disappointed, and jealous man kills the man he believes to be his wife’s lover, this you consider to be unlikely. A murderous Nazi spy with orders to abduct a parrot, on the other hand—”
The Final Solution quite obviously takes its inspiration from Sherlock Holmes. The main character, an 89 year old ex-police detective, has retired to the English countryside to focus on his beekeeping during the last year of World War II. His neighbors have taken in a refugee, a 9 year old German Jewish boy who has not spoken since his separation from his parents. The boy has a pet parrot, who speaks German and constantly rattles of a stream of German numbers. When someone murders one of his neighbors’ lodgers and steals the parrot, the detective comes out of retirement to solve the case.
It’s a pretty straightforward little story — like I said, it’s obviously a Sherlock Holmes homage. I just wish it had been longer — a real novel could have been created out of the back-stories of this detective and this child (and the parrot, too). Instead, we’re given just a little glimpse, and I was left too hungry at the end.