Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann

In the rural village of Glennkill in Ireland, a flock of sheep are horrified to find their shepherd dead, with a spade stuck through him.  The sheep decide that they must investigate the murder and work out who killed their beloved master, in order that justice can be done.  Along the way, the encounter various obstacles, face their fears and learn a few lessons about life.

I thought this was an adorable book.  The premise is unusual – a flock of sheep make for an unlikely detective squad.  But these are no ordinary sheep!  Their dead shepherd, George Glenn, had read to them every day of their lives and treated them as proper friends, holding conversations with them.  As a result, they are able to think things through and make plans. 

Each sheep has a distinct character.  The main characters are Miss Maple, the cleverest sheep in all Glennkill and maybe the world; Othello, a black ram with a mysterious past; Mopple the Whale, a sheep with an amazing memory and a seemingly inexhaustible appetite; Sir Ritchfield, the elderly lead ram; and Zora, a sheep with a head for heights.

If the reader can accept the premise of this unusual murder hunt, the book is very enjoyable.  The flocks literal interpretation of human conversations and interactions make for some laugh-out-loud moments, and the secret of who killed George Glenn is kept until almost the very end.

Definitely a book I would recommend – heartwarming and amusing.  However, it’s put me off eating lamb chops for a while!

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