Three Bags Full: A Sheep Detective Story

July 6, 2013 - Comment

A witty philosophical murder mystery with a charming twist: the crack detectives are sheep determined to discover who killed their beloved shepherd. On 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

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A witty philosophical murder mystery with a charming twist: the crack detectives are sheep determined to discover who killed their beloved shepherd.

On 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 killer.

The 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.

Comments

A. Ross says:

Entertaining but Meandering — Kind of Like its Protagonists… Translated from German, set on the Irish coast, and featuring a flock of sheep as protagonists, this debut channels Agatha Christie, Gary Larson (of “Far Side” fame), and “Murder, She Wrote” in a story about the murder of a shepherd and his flock’s attempt to unmask his killer and bring about justice. The sleuthing sheep are a great conceit, and one that, for the most part, carries the book through the somewhat meandering and slow-developing story.Things kick off with the shepherd…

Sarah O'Hara says:

a woolly good read This story is a really fun mystery told from the perspective of a few intrepid sheep. They’ve got a murder to find justice for, and no amount of tempting clover can keep them off the scent. I really did find the book quite clever and the author was good at constructing an engaging mystery.The best part is how human behavior is interpreted from the sheep perspective. Through the course of their investigation they make some revelations of humans and their motivations that are both…

Kara J. Jorges "Avid Reader" says:

Different and Fun When I saw this murder mystery about sheep, I had to read it. I was not disappointed. Though its pace is a bit pastoral, it’s a pretty good read, and the author did a great job of depicting the dynamics present in a flock of sheep.Though the flock agrees that George wasn’t the best shepherd in the world, he wasn’t all that bad, and he was theirs. When his body is found lying in their meadow with a spade stuck through it, they decide they need justice. Working together with their…

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