Rating 3.8 stars, I m rounding up Three Bags Full is, without a doubt, the best sheep detective novel ever written It s a very fun read that can be enjoyed as a simple diversion from life s cares or as a serious, if humorous, look at dealing with guilt, misdeeds, and unrequited love back cover.The story begins when George Glenn s flock discovers his dead body in their meadow one morning An uncommon shepherd, George had been in the habit of reading to his sheep primarily trashy romances Pamela stories , a detective novel, and, once, a book of sheep diseases so they were very familiar with humans and their habits That familiarity leads the flock to want to find George s murderer.There s a large cast of idiosyncratic characters but the chief ones are Miss Maple the smartest sheep in Glennkill and probably the world , Othello the literal black sheep of the flock , Mopple the Whale who can remember everything , Zora a mystical sheep who s always looking into the abyss , and Sir Ritchfield the lead ram and his twin Melmoth who left the flock but came back One of this book s greatest strengths is how successful Swann is in keeping to the ovine point of view and logic Assuming that you re willing to believe that sheep can think on a conscious level, at no point do you not believe in the plausibility of the sheep s investigation She also sets up some hilarious scenes of human sheep interaction and examples of sheepish logic For example, at one point Miss Maple, Othello and Mopple sneak into the village to spy on a conversation between two of the prime suspects They re lurking outside one of the women s house but can t see inside because of a geranium bush Mopple devours the foliage and then Swann describes one of the funnier images in the bookA short time later there was devastation where the geraniums had recently been growing and thriving Beyond the devastation the sheep could see Beth and Rebecca sitting at the table From inside the room, it looked as if Beth had planted three sheep s heads in her window boxp 133 In another example, Sir Ritchfield s twin Melmoth returns but the sheep don t realize who he is Believing him to be Sir Ritchfield, his odd behavior and words make the flock afraid that a hole has opened up in Sir Ritchfield s memory and it s all leaking out so they determine to create a memory so big that the hole will be stuffedSoon afterward all the sheep in the flock were lying on their backs in front of George s Place with their legs in the air, bleating for all they were worth It s also funny to watch how the guilty consciences of the village butcher, Ham, and parish pries, Father William, turn Mopple and Othello into demon sheep sent to torment them or the climactic final scene where Miss Maple, Othello, Mopple and Zora invade the Smartest Sheep in Glennkill contest to reveal the murderer in a pantomime the flock cooked up.Definitely recommended to the mystery fan looking for something a bit less grim than Grisham or for those aficionados of sheep novels. It s a cute premise a dead shepherd is discovered by his flock of sheep with a spade sticking out of his chest, and the sheep then set out to solve the mystery of the shepherd s murder Fine I have no problem with cute.The problem with this book is that it s just not a very good mystery, despite the billing The clues are often garbled in translation from human to sheep and back again, such that the reader loses a clear sense of what s actually happening The clues we do have don t add up to much and the author does little to try to bring it all together And in the end, the solution has nothing really, nothing to do with the entire setup of the story.So yes, it s cute But it s also a poorly conceived and told mystery with a terribly disappointing resolution. I never thought I would find myself commenting in a book review about how realistic the sheep characters seemed to be But in Leonie Swann s delightful murder mystery, I repeatedly found myself thinking Yes I bet that s exactly what a sheep would think While these crime fighting sheep are smart and understand English, they are still just so sheepy that I had no trouble losing myself in their world The author s depiction of flock s attempt to make sense of certain quirks of human behavior from a sheep s perspective was particularly well done Besides, how can you not love a novel that has a flip book built into it A wonderful, priceless book, full of wit and philosophical musings and profound observations.One morning at the small village of Glennkill, Ireland, a small flock of sheep wake up to find that their shepherd, George Glenn, has been murdered With a spade through his guts Miss Maple, the cleverest sheep in Glennkill, decides they should investigate and find his murderer, because even though George was a bit of a peculiar and irrascible bastard, he was still their shepherd, and who would read Pamela novels romances to them now So begins an interesting week of discoveries, where through the sheep s observations and investigations we learn about the townsfolk, and that some odd things were going on, and that there are mysteries beneath the mysteries The sheep too have their own secrets, and fears, as well Perceptions aren t static as we learnabout George you can t help but become fond of the man, and I like his style of shepherding Gabriel, another shepherd whom the sheep always admired, turns out to be less than worthy of their admiration Bible thumping Beth, as George always called her, isn t so straight forward either The sheep themselves have delightful personalities, and although Swann s descriptions of raising sheep don t always coincide with my own knowledge from growing up on a sheep farm, a lot of the mannerisms and peculiarities were very familiar and often had me laughing out loud There s Othello, a black ram with four horns who was once in a circus part of a knife throwing act that left him scarred Maude and her incredible sense of smell Sir Ritchfield, the lead ram, who s mostly deaf but still has good eyesight Mopple the Whale, who can remember everything Lane, the fastest sheep in the flock and Zora, who has a ledge above the cliff from where she gazes out over the abyss and watches the cloud sheep.Because the sheep have an almost childlike and very logical way of observing humans and their behaviour, it s often very humorous and also profound The nice thing about this novel is that, aside from the sheep s ability to understand human speech and to ponder human matters, they haven t actually been anthropomorphised they re still very much sheep, not sheep behaving like humans Equally hilarious are the humans perceptions of the sheep and their behaviour, which the story manages to convey with great comic timing Using the sheep also enables clues to turn in on themselves, or be obscured until the sheep figure something out, and so on, which really keeps the detective side of the story humming along nicely.I don t usually read crime novels of any kind, especially the generic kind, but this one I could happily re read and noticeeach time Knowing the whodunnit side of things doesn t spoil it at all, because Three Bags Full is so muchthan a detective story. A shepherd is murdered and it s up to the flock to find out whodunnit Lead by the intrepid Miss Maple, a delightful cast of sheep characters put their fluffy, fleece heads together to crack the case.As a murder mystery, this book isn t that entertaining, but as a parody of the Miss Marple books, it is fantastic Each sheep in the flock has a distinct character that gives it a unique ability to contribute to the case these traits are listed in the front of the book with the character, just like the old Christie books Only by working together are their powers combined, and like a group of villagers, the sheep manage to bring justice to all or, at least in so far as it concerns them.This book also works on a philosophical level Because the protagonists are sheep, a good deal of their investigating involves understanding the human world Do humans have souls What happens when people die What are the responsibilities of an individual member of society Fortunately, the author dials down the seriousness with the occasional joke As the sheep gather for their first round of questions, Who would want to kill the shepherd is listed right next to Why did it rain last night The humor really plays into the Miss Marple parody, leaving readers free to address the philosophical questions or simply leave them be.Oh, and there s a little drawing of sheep in the bottom right corner of the pages, which creates a flip book of a sheep jumping How can you say no to that I have to write a revised review I have to exIplainclearly why I really liked this book, beyond the fact that it still keeps me laughing even though I read it years ago I NEVER read mystery or crime novels And yet I loved it I never read fantasy books, and I loved it Why Well b c the sheep are so wonderful They are determined to find the murderer of their beloved Glen, whom they love b c he was so sweet and caring to them He read them stories. every night He taught them a lot Still, the sheep had to surmount so many problems Number one, sheep cannot talk How can they bring the murderer to justice And they were kind of confused sometimes Their confusion is ever so charming and terribly funny I will say this you will NOT like this book if you cannot laugh at human beings or religion It is utterly marvelous A fairy tale for adults Read this book now Stop whatever you are doing, turn off whatever s cooking on the stove, turn off the music you were just listening to, put down whatever lesser book you thought you d read go to a locally owned used bookstore and buy this book It s one of those books that if it had been written even the tiniest bit differently, the entire wondrous thing would have collapsed But it s brilliant, it s just brilliant It s like Watership Down meets Ruth Rendell, but with a higher percentage of lanolin.I love it so much, I almost don t want to share it with anyone else Forget what I just said Don t go read this book Leave it for me to savor and treasure and love like my own imaginary friend. Sheep, it turns out, have quite a bit in common with humans We are both gossipy, superstitious, and prone to exaggeration Like us, sheep have theories about life after death you become a fluffy, cloud sheep in the sky , and prejudices goats are crazy And occasionally, someone will offer up sane words of advice that both sheep and humans would do well to heedYou shouldn t believe what you don t understand You should understand what you believe.The sheep in this book can talk, but only to other sheep They sometimes say cute things, but they are REAL sheep, not cartoonish fluff balls with pink bows and eyelashes aflutter And they are trying to figure out who killed their beloved shepherd, George As it turns out, you don t need CSI, DNA evidence, or even fingerprints to solve a crime You just need detectives in ovine clothing, who stand around quietly grazing, observing, listening to conversations, drawing conclusionsThere s a sweet charm to this book The sheep can t help but act on their animal instincts eating geraniums when they should be keeping an eye on the suspects, and devouring their master s forbidden garden but afterwards, they experience very human emotions, standing around filled with shame, and feeling guilty over their actions There s also a poignant encounter with another shepherd s ram, a meat breed who is sadly aware of his own fate The mystery surrounding the death of George is less than compelling, but the antics of the sheep make this one worth a look. This is one of the weirdest books I have ever read in my short life.No, honestly if you are tired of clich , tired of fairytale retellings, tired of love triangles, tired of the usual average book, try this one You will not be disappointed.I know the rating is not encouraging, but that is because it is not everybody s cup of tea The reason Sheep Yeah, sheep The books main characters Miss Maple, Othello and Mopple the Whale Sheep The POV Yeah right, sheep The dead body Their shepherd And the murderer Not telling you.Go and give it a try Findof my books on Instagram A Witty Philosophical Murder Mystery With A Charming Twist The Crack Detectives Are Sheep Determined To Discover Who Killed Their Beloved ShepherdOn A Hillside Near The Cozy Irish Village Of Glennkill, The Members Of The Flock Gather Around Their Shepherd, George, Whose Body Lies Pinned To The Ground With A Spade George Has Cared For The Sheep, Reading Them A Plethora Of Books Every Night The Daily Exposure To Literature Has Made Them Far Savvier About The Workings Of The Human Mind Than Your Average Sheep Led By Miss Maple, The Smartest Sheep In Glennkill And Possibly The World , They Set Out To Find George S KillerThe A Team Of Investigators Includes Othello, The Bad Boy Black Ram Mopple The Whale, A Merino Who Eats A Lot And Remembers Everything And Zora, A Pensive Black Faced Ewe With A Weakness For Abysses Joined By Other Members Of The Richly Talented Flock, They Engage In Nightlong Discussions About The Crime And Wild Metaphysical Speculations, And They Embark On Reconnaissance Missions Into The Village, Where They Encounter Some Likely Suspects There S Ham, The Terrifying Butcher Rebecca, A Village Newcomer With A Secret And A Scheme Gabriel, The Shady Shepherd Of A Very Odd Flock And Father Will, A Sinister Priest Along The Way, The Sheep Confront Their Own All Too Human Struggles With Guilt, Misdeeds, And Unrequited Love Three Bags Full Is Already An International Hit It S Rather As If Agatha Christie Had Re Written The Wind In The Willows, And I Ended By Loving It, Jane Jakeman Wrote In The Independent Funny, Fresh, And Endearing, It Introduces A Wonderful Breed Of Detectives To American Readers
Leonie Swann b 1975 Dachau near Munich, Germany is the nom de plume of a German crime writer She went to school at Ignaz Taschner Gymnasium Dachau She studied philosophy, psychology and English literature in Munich, and now lives in Berlin.
- 341 pages
- Leonie Swann
- 25 December 2017 Leonie Swann