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The Final Solution: A Story of Detection

By Michael Chabon

    In his career as an author, Michael Chabon has written a children's book, a heroic work surrounding the creation of superheroes, and now a mystery novel. "The Final Solution" harkens back to those classic murder mysteries of the Agatha Christie age. In this, his latest creation, Chabon introduces us to a brilliant, unnamed detective. Now in his twilight years, the old man amuses himself by tending to his bees and generally living a quiet existence in a small town in Britain. The arrival of a boy and his African gray parrot, however, signals interesting things to come. A murder is committed, an innocent man jailed, and a parrot mysteriously goes missing. All this is just enough to rouse the old man out of his lethargy and into a mysterious world of Nazi code-breaking and World War II intrigues. Most intriguing of all comes when it is clear that the solution is just a part of the book's conclusion.

     Chabon has deftly turned his skill of penning exciting adventure stories into this new and gripping tale of red herrings and suspense. The single image of a mute boy walking with a parrot who can't stop repeating mysterious German numbers is gripping enough to entice not only the reader but the nameless detective as well. The book jumps from one person's point of view to another without skipping a beat (even going so far as to include a section from the head of the parrot itself) and presents a mystery that could definitely be solved by an attentive reader. All in all, the book's a wonderful hearkening back to the days of drawing room detectives while containing the depth and great writing you expect from Chabon's pen. A fine addition to any mystery buff's private library.

The Book

Fourth Estate / HarperCollins
November 1, 2004
Mystery - Historical (Britain 1940s)
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NOTE: Some violence. Some mild allusions to sex.

The Reviewer

Elizabeth Bird
Reviewed 2005
© 2005