by Julie HaleDecember, 2005
The Final Solution
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay returns with an old-fashioned whodunit inspired by the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Indeed, Chabon's book features a retired detective referred to throughout as the old man who bears more than a passing resemblance to Sherlock Holmes and whom the reader must assume is none other than the sleuth himself. Now 89, Holmes has removed himself from the bustle of London and taken up residence in the Sussex countryside, where he keeps bees. The story begins in the summer of 1944, when Holmes crosses paths with Linus Steinman, a young boy who has escaped from Nazi Germany and lives with an English couple in their boarding house. Linus does not talk, but his pet parrot Bruno compensates for his silence, reciting poetry and songs in German, as well as sequences of numbers. When a resident of the boarding house is murdered and Bruno is kidnapped, the local authorities enlist Holmes to help solve the crime. Thus, the detective embarks on his final case, an adventure involving European politics, international intrigue and more. With this brief book, Chabon has contributed an admirable new chapter to the life of the famous crime fighter, proving himself a master of the mystery genre. A reading group guide is available in print and online at www.harperperennial.com.