Archive for 'Swann, Leonie'
When the body of George the shepherd is found pinned to the ground with a spade, his flock of sheep is disturbed. First, they worry who will feed them or that no one will protect them from wolves. Then, led by the clever Miss Maple, they begin to wonder how George came to be dead. When they decide it must have been at the hand of another human, they agree that they should determine who this human is and get justice for Georgeâ€™s murder.
Now Georgeâ€™s flock is not your average collection of sheep. George, in fact, used to read to them at night so they understand a little bit about human motivation and skullduggery (he read part of a mystery to them) and they draw upon their book learning and their past experiences to try to understand why someone might have done this to George. And every sheep brings something different to the cause â€“ Miss Maple is the clever sheep and the motivator when the other sheep lose focus, Maude has a very good sense of smell, Mopple the Whale is the memory sheep who remembers everything (which is a good thing because some of the sheep tend to wool-gather), Othello is a sheep with experience outside the flock that he can draw on to help the sheep understand the world of humans, and Zora is a sheep who loves heights. Because the flock is large, THREE BAGS FULL has a large cast of characters and, thankfully, a list of the sheep to help keep them straight.
THREE BAGS FULL is a great book that you will have a hard time putting down. Swann has taken a traditional mystery and given it a new twist. You can see the processes that every amateur detective goes through to solve their mystery acted out by sheep. For example, when the suspects stop coming out to the pasture where the flock can study them, they have become proactive and go investigate. They sneak into town at night and listen at windows to gather evidence, just as humans would, and the results are hilarious.
Swann also shows the reader the problems inherent to sheep detectives â€“ they have to fight their instincts at every turn to run from danger instead of facing it or to forget their task and return to the grazing they were meant for, And once they solve the mystery, how do the sheep communicate their solution to the humans who can secure justice for George?
Favorite character? Zora, the brave and eccentric sheep. Did I guess it? No. Will I read another? Absolutely.
Mystery Book Reviews by Liz at http://reviewedbyliz.com Â©2007