The Final Solution

The Final Solution

A Story of Detection

Book - 2004
Average Rating:
Rate this:
An eighty-nine-year-old former detective in rural England becomes involved with a young refugee from Nazi Germany whose sole companion, an African grey parrot, spews out a series of numbers that could hold the key to a dangerous secret.
Publisher: New York : Fourth Estate, c2004
Characteristics: 131 p. : ill. ; 22 cm
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 006076340X (acid-free paper)


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jan 10, 2016

This was an OK read for a rainy day. Not sure how the boy came to be living in England and on his own, but assume it's because someone rescued him from the atrocities of the Nazis' death trains.

May 10, 2015

Worth reading if you are a Chabon fan. I especially liked the chapter from the parrot's point of view.

Oct 01, 2013

*** stars This novel is a detective story that in many ways pays homage to the writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The story, set in 1944, revolves around an unnamed 89-year-old long-retired detective (who may or may not be Sherlock Holmes but is always called just "the old man"), now interested mostly in beekeeping, and his quest to find a missing parrot, the only friend of a mute Jewish boy. The title of the novella references Doyle's Sherlock Holmes story "The Final Problem," in which Holmes confronts his greatest enemy, Professor Moriarty, at Reichenbach Falls, and the Final Solution, the Nazis' plan for the genocide of the Jewish people. The story opens with the chance encounter between the old man and a mute young boy, Linus Steinman, who is a German-Jewish refugee staying with a local Anglican priest and his family. The boy's constant companion, a parrot, is in the habit of rattling off German numbers in no obvious order. After we are introduced to the priest, his wife, son and two lodgers, we find out that the numbers may have some significance. One lodger speculates that the numbers are a military code of some kind and seeks to crack it. The other lodger, a Mr. Shane, from the British foreign office, pretends at dinner not to even notice the bird. After Mr. Shane is found murdered the next morning and the parrot Bruno has gone missing, the local inspector, Michael Bellows, recruits the old man to help solve the mystery. Mr. Chabon always has a unique voice - loved his " The Yiddish Policeman's Union "!! Recommend

babyunicorn26 Jun 13, 2013

Great short novel full of meaning and fast moving plot!

May 28, 2013

I really enjoyed this, but I felt like the story got concluded a little too quickly. It was fun to see Sherlock Holmes as an old man though!

Jan 24, 2013

A wonderful story that is subtle and beautifully written. Highly recommended for ages 10 to adult.

Oct 13, 2012

This is a lovely, heartfelt, well-written quick read. Unique, quirky and delightfully fun.

Aug 12, 2012

Did I just read poetry? I don't get it. The Boy is a jerk, but Bruno loves him anyways... is that it? Old Sherlock Holmes is kinda dumb? If there wasn't a war on, they coulda just asked and then I wouldn't have needed to read this book?

theoddmouse Mar 20, 2012

Good little story. Would have been better had Michael Chabon paid a little more attention to the flow of the plot and a little less time finding obscure synonyms for every other word in the book.

Feb 05, 2010

What do an eighty-nine-year-old detective-turned-beekeeper and a nine-year old Jewish boy from Nazi Germany have in common? A mystery, of course. The boy is young Linus Steinman, a refugee whose sole beloved possession is a gray African parrot named Bruno who speaks, sings, and quotes strings of numbers?all in German. When Bruno is stolen and a man is murdered, the beekeeping old man is moved to assist the local constabulary?but only because he wants to restore the bird to the boy. If he happens to solve the murder along the way, so be it. A cast of quirky characters and suspects dot the English countryside, and author Michael Chabon?Pulitzer Prize winner for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay?is spot-on in terms of style and tone in this slim but smart volume that pays homage to the literary tradition of detection that began so long ago with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes. The legendary investigator is never mentioned, but the hints that surround the long-legged, gaunt-faced ?old man? range from tweed to pipes to magnifying glasses. There?s little doubt that this is no less than the great and dignified Holmes?worn and stretched by the years but no less sharp?who?s on the case. The murder becomes a matter of national security, with spies and secret codes abounding in the wake of World War II. Sophisticated and fun, The Final Solution is genuine Holmes.

View All Comments


Add a Quote
babyunicorn26 Jun 13, 2013

For the first time in a very many years, he felt the old vexation, the mingled impatience and pleasure at the world's beautiful refusal to yield up its mysteries without a fight.

theoddmouse Mar 20, 2012

"Sieben acht vier vier fünf."


Add a Summary
babyunicorn26 Jun 13, 2013

Fast moving novella about about the retired Great Detective's final case.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at JCPL

To Top