In this 2004 novella, a crime has most definitely been committed, but the only witness, and perhaps its victim, is a nine-year old boy who doesn’t speak and whose only companion is a loquacious African parrot. The Final Solution: A Story of Detection takes place in post WW II English countryside and features an aged Sherlock Holmes who comes out of retirement—and a full-time hobby of beekeeping—to embark on one last solution of a crime. Though as the story unfolds, style is as much a feature as plot, as here, in a local villager’s first encounter with the famed detective:
Years and years ago his name—itself redolent now of the fustian and rectitude of that vanished era—had adorned newspapers and police gazettes of the empire, but it was his more recent, local celebrity, founded almost exclusively on legends of his shyness, irascibility, and hostility to all human commerce, that drew her across to his side of the platform that morning.
The Final Solution is the story of crime of massive tragedy, but also of a mysterious boy, one whose silence serves as an obstacle for the great detective. Luckily the African parrot, with his puzzling chatter, provides the needed clues. A great pick for fans of crime as well as great sentences.