While the boy doesn't talk, the parrot does. He spouts streams of numbers, and no one can decipher their meaning. The villain believes they're important. Code? Or something else?
Why, you might be asking, do I refer to the beekeeper, when anybody who's ever read a Sherlock Holmes story knows who he is. That's because Chabon, for reasons only he could give us, doesn't name him. Seemed a bit lame to me.
I didn't particularly care for the mystery, and while the book's title is fraught with a number of heavy meanings, the ending of the story didn't particularly impress me.
I had to try twice to read this book. I succeeded the second time, but I didn't think I was well-rewarded. You might have an entirely different reaction, as apparently many others have.