Rated Reads

Three Bags Full: A Sheep Detective Story

by Leonie Swann

Rated: None

Until Three Bags Full, I don’t believe I’d ever read a mystery in which sheep are the detectives. I kind of doubt I “wool” again. It was hard to resist the pull of such an original scenario.

A shepherd in Ireland is found dead, with a spade stuck through his chest. Of course, the villagers of Glennkill all seem to have motives for George’s death, but even some of his sheep do too.

Miss Maple, the clever one of the flock, sets about trying to solve the case. She questions the sheep, who miss the shepherd who read to them from bad romance novels and fed them special treats — and even promised to take them all to Europe. Maple and some of the others observe the humans and try to gather evidence.

The sheep can be insightful at times; at others, their questions about mysterious human behaviors or their “Things” are hilarious. For instance, they puzzle over the odd practice the humans have of planting dead bodies in a garden with a wall around it.

The story can sometimes be a bit slow going, but it is so quirky and clever overall and funny in many parts that it’s worth the read. Swann has created a delightful hybrid novel worth missing a little sleep over.

Rated: None, almost no language, very mild references to violence

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for more than 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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  • Three Bags Full: A Sheep Detective Story
  • by Leonie Swann
  • Rated: None
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: