Three Bags Full - Leonie Swann

Maple thought optimistically that human beings, on their good days, weren't much dimmer than sheep. Or at least, not much dimmer than dim sheep.

Get this: it's a murder mystery novel in which a flock of sheep plays the role of detective. When their shepherd is found dead with a spade through his chest, his sheep decide that they must find out what has happened to him. The humans of the little town of Glennkill are abuzz with gossip, most of which doesn't make much sense to the sheep, but they're determined to figure it out.

It's a fantastic setup, describing everything from the sheep's point of view. Do humans have souls? Why does the tall long-nosed man in black talk about sheep going astray? What is "justice," and how do they make sure it "gets out"? Led by Miss Maple, easily the cleverest sheep in Glenkill, if not the world, they set about collecting clues and listening in on conversations. By the end, they think they've got it figured out but then struggle with how best to tell the humans.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book: the humor of the premise pervades the entire book, but there's still plenty of drama and tension, and although there are some things we human readers will pick up on much quicker than the sheep, Swann still keeps us guessing about the murder until the end. At the same time, much of the book isn't so much about the mystery as it is about how we might appear to a different species.

The various sheep characters are superb. If you're looking for something fun and quite a bit different, give this one a shot.

Fed to jonathan's brain | January 18, 2009 | Comments (0)


Post a comment

Remember Me?