Thursday, August 09, 2007

Three Bags Full

by Leonie Swann

This clever, touching novel delivers what it promises in its subtitle: “a sheep detective story.” Here the flock of Glennkill decides to find the murderer of their shepherd, George, after finding him dead in their pasture with a spade stuck in him. George had read part of a detective novel to the sheep (as well as several gothic romances), which is where they get the idea. This multilayered tale provides more than one mystery and incorporates the mythologies of both the sheep and the humans as the plot unfurls. Though we get to know the sheep as individuals, they are not overly anthropomorphized. The story alternates between pulling your heartstrings, making you laugh out loud, and dragging you to the edge of your seat with terror (for the characters). The resolution to the mystery, meanwhile, is one you probably won't see coming, though it rings true. This witty book gets two hooves up from me.

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