Friday, July 20, 2007

Three Bags Full - Leonie Swann

This is a story about a flock of sheep who decide to find out who killed their sheperd. Now, bear with me, this may sound like the beginning of a bad book with hokey sheep but it's not.

For anyone who's read "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time", this book is somewhat like that. The book is seen from the perspective of the sheep. Their ideas about humans are hilarious but true to the point.

This flock is led by Miss Maple, supposedly the smartest sheep in all of Glenkill (and possibly the world). Her name immediately brought to mind Miss Marple and some reviews have even said it was as if Leonie was Agatha Christie writing Wind in the Willows).

What makes these sheep special is that their sheperd, George, used to read to them. They understand something of humans and murder. Each sheep has a quirky personality that helps in their 'investigation'. Mopple the Whale remembers everything he sees, Maude has a great sense of smell, Lane is the fastest sheep, etc.

Plus, it's funny. Who doesn't like a funny murder mystery? I found myself giggling through the whole book. For example: "Then a whole lot of humans came streaming into the house all at once. They brought dogs with them, and other sheep, and a pig. And I had to go in too. There was a terrible racket, but the man in black talked above it. 'Welcome to the house of God!' he said. 'She stopped and looked thoughtful.'

"So his name is God," said Sir Ritchfield.

Othello mad a strange face. "God?"

"Could be," said Cloud uncertainly. "But after a while I worked it out that they were worshipping a special lamb, I though that was a nice idea. They called it 'the lord'. There was music, like on the radio...only not quite the same. I looked round a bit and got a nasty fright. There was a man hanging on the wall with no clothes on, and even though he was bleeding from lots of wounds you couldn't smell the blood.' She wouldn't say any more.

The BadSome of the sheep I felt weren't fleshed out enough to be part of the flock. As well, one of the sheep named on the back cover, Fosco, doesn't appear until the last 40 pages of the book.

Rating: 3.5/5 for being a fresh take on a murder mystery.

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