Saturday, January 16, 2010
The Final Solution by Michael Chabon
I don’t know what took me to the “C”s in the fiction section while I was searching for a library book, but I happened upon a lovely short mystery by Michael Chabon that features a very old and retired Sherlock Holmes. While Holmes is never mentioned by name, it is obvious who the old man is because of his bee hives, and how his skills of old come into use, and because his neighbors have heard was once a man of some renown.
It is the summer of 1944 when a young boy and his African Grey Parrot wander into the view from Holmes’ front window. The boy is a Jewish refugee from Germany, and his parrot spews out long lists of numbers in German. The parrot disappears the same morning as a murder and the local police come to ask for Holmes to help in solving the case. The murder doesn’t interest him, but he agrees to assist the constables in order “to find the boy’s parrot”.
Chabon’s prose is simply lyrical. It was just a joy to read and, this is a silly comment, but he used so many wonderful words, some of which I didn’t really know, but that couldn’t have been replaced by anything else. “...the flashing heliograph of his smile”, for instance. I just loved it.