Three Bags Full: A Sheep Detective Story

Three Bags Full: A Sheep Detective Story

by Leonie Swann

Paperback(Reprint)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780767927055
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 06/03/2008
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 499,946
Product dimensions: 8.02(w) x 5.20(h) x 0.74(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

LEONIE SWANN earned degrees in philosophy, psychology, and communications from Munich University and has worked in journalism and public relations. Currently working on her doctorate in English literature, she lives in Berlin

Read an Excerpt

1
Othello Boldly Grazes Past


“He was healthy yesterday,” said Maude. Her ears twitched nervously.

“That doesn’t mean anything,” pointed out Sir Ritchfield, the oldest ram in the flock. “He didn’t die of an illness. Spades are not an illness.”

The shepherd was lying in the green Irish grass beside the hay barn, not far from the path through the fields. He didn’t move. A single crow had settled on his woolly Norwegian sweater and was studying his internal arrangements with professional interest. Beside the crow sat a very happy rabbit. Rather farther off, close to the edge of the cliff, the sheep were holding a meeting.

They had kept calm that morning when they found their shepherd lying there so unusually cold and lifeless, and were extremely proud of it. In the first flush of alarm, naturally there had been a few frantic cries of “Who's going to bring us hay now?” and “A wolf! There’s a wolf about!,” but Miss Maple had been quick to quell any panic. She explained that here on the greenest, richest pasture in all Ireland only idiots would eat hay in midsummer anyway, and even the most sophisticated wolves didn’t drive spades through the bodies of their victims. For such a tool was undoubtedly sticking out of the shepherd’s insides, which were now wet with dew.

Miss Maple was the cleverest sheep in all Glennkill. Some even claimed that she was the cleverest sheep in the world, but no one could prove it. There was in fact an annual Smartest Sheep in Glennkill contest, but Maple’s extraordinary intelligence showed in the very fact that she did not take part in such competitions. The winner, after being crowned with a wreath of shamrock (which it was then allowed to eat), spent several days touring the pubs of the neighboring villages, and was constantly expected to perform the trick that had erroneously won it the title, eyes streaming as it blinked through clouds of tobacco smoke, with the customers pouring Guinness down its throat until it couldn’t stand up properly. Furthermore, from then on the winning sheep’s shepherd held it responsible for each and every prank played out at pasture, since the cleverest animal was always going to be the prime suspect.

George Glenn would never again hold any sheep responsible for anything. He lay impaled on the ground beside the path while his sheep wondered what to do next. They were standing on the cliffs between the watery–blue sky and the sky–blue sea, where they couldn’t smell the blood, and they did feel responsible.

“He wasn’t a specially good shepherd,” said Heather, who was still not much more than a lamb and still bore George a grudge for docking her beautiful tail at the end of last winter.

“Exactly!” said Cloud, the woolliest and most magnificent sheep ever seen. “He didn’t appreciate our work. Norwegian sheep do it better, he said! Norwegian sheep give more wool! He had sweaters made of foreign wool sent from Norway—it’s a disgrace! What other shepherd would insult his own flock like that?”

There ensued a discussion of some length between Heather, Cloud, and Mopple the Whale. Mopple the Whale insisted that you judged a shepherd’s merits by the quantity and quality of the fodder he provided, and in this respect there was nothing, nothing whatsoever, to be said against George Glenn. Finally they agreed that a good shepherd was one who never docked the lambs’ tails; didn’t keep a sheepdog; provided good fodder and plenty of it, particularly bread and sugar but healthy things too like green stuff, concentrated feed, and mangel–wurzels (for they were all very sensible sheep); and who clothed himself entirely in the products of his own flock, for instance an all–in–one suit made of spun sheep’s wool, which would look really good, almost as if he were a sheep himself. Of course it was obvious to them all that no such perfect being was to be found anywhere in the world, but it was a nice idea all the same. They sighed a little, and were about to scatter, pleased to think that they had cleared up all outstanding questions.

So far, however, Miss Maple had taken no part in the discussion. Now she said, “Don’t you want to know what he died of?”

Sir Ritchfield looked at her in surprise. “He died of that spade. You wouldn’t have survived it either, a heavy iron thing like that driven right through you. No wonder he’s dead.” Ritchfield shuddered slightly.

“And where did the spade come from?”

“Someone stuck it in him.” As far as Sir Ritchfield was concerned, that was the end of the matter, but Othello, the only black sheep in the flock, suddenly began taking an interest in the problem.

“It can only have been a human who did it—or a very large monkey.” Othello had spent his youth in Dublin Zoo and never missed an opportunity to mention it.

“A human.” Maple nodded, satisfied. “I think we ought to find out what kind of human. We owe old George that. If a fierce dog took one of our lambs, he always tried to find the culprit. Anyway, he was our shepherd. No one had a right to stick a spade in him. That’s wolfish behavior. That’s murder.”

Now the sheep were feeling alarmed. The wind had changed, and the smell of fresh blood was drifting toward the sea.

“And when we’ve found the person who stuck the spade in,”asked Heather nervously, “then what?”

“Justice!” bleated Othello.

“Justice!” bleated the other sheep. And so it was decided that George Glenn’s sheep themselves would solve the wicked murder of their shepherd.


First Miss Maple went over to examine the body. She did it reluctantly: in the summer sun of Ireland, George had already begun to smell bad enough to send a shudder down any sheep’s spine.

She started by circling the shepherd at a respectful distance. The crow cawed and fluttered away on black wings. Maple ventured closer, inspected the spade, sniffed George’s clothes and face. Finally—as the rest of the flock, huddling together at a safe distance, held their breaths—she even stuck her nose in the wound and rooted around. At least, that was what it looked like from where the others stood. She came back to them with blood on her muzzle.

“Well?” asked Mopple, unable to stand the suspense any longer. Mopple never could stand strain of any kind for long.

“He’s dead,” replied Miss Maple. She didn’t seem to want to say any more just now. Then she looked back at the path. “We have to be prepared. Sooner or later humans are going to turn up here. We must watch what they do. And we’d better not all stand around in a crowd; it looks suspicious. We ought to act naturally.”

“But we are acting naturally,” objected Maude. “George is dead. Murdered. Should we be grazing right beside him where the grass is spattered with his blood?”

“Yes, that’s exactly what we ought to be doing.” The black figure of Othello came between them. His nostrils contracted as he saw the horrified faces of the others. “Don’t worry, I’ll do it. I spent my youth near the carnivores’ enclosure. A little more blood won’t kill me.”

At that moment Heather thought what a particularly bold ram Othello was. She decided to graze near him more often in future—though not until George had been taken away and fresh summer rain had washed the meadow clean, of course.

Miss Maple decided who would keep watch where. Sir Ritchfield, whose eyesight was still good in spite of his advanced age, was stationed on the hill. You could see across the hedges to the paved road from there. Mopple the Whale had poor eyes but a good memory. He stood beside Ritchfield to remember everything the old ram saw. Heather and Cloud were to watch the path that ran through the meadow: Heather took up her post by the gate nearest to the village; Cloud stood where the path disappeared into a dip in the ground. Zora, a Blackface sheep who had a good head for heights, stationed herself on a narrow rocky ledge at the top of the cliff to keep watch on the beach below. Zora claimed to have a wild mountain sheep in her ancestry, and when you saw how confidently she moved above the abyss you could almost believe it.

Othello disappeared into the shadow of the dolmen, near the place where George lay pinned to the ground by the spade. Miss Maple did not keep watch herself. She stood by the water trough, trying to wash the traces of blood off her nose.

The rest of the sheep acted naturally.


A little later Tom O’Malley, no longer entirely sober, came along the footpath from Golagh to Glennkill to favor the local pub with his custom. The fresh air did him good: the green grass, the blue sky. Gulls pursued their prey, calling, wheeling in the air so fast that it made his head spin. George's sheep were grazing peacefully. Picturesque. Like a travel brochure. One sheep had ventured particularly far out, and was enthroned like a small white lion on the cliff itself.

“Hey there, little sheep,” said Tom, “don’t you take a tumble now. It’d be a shame for a pretty thing like you to fall.”

The sheep looked at him with disdain, and he suddenly felt stupid. Stupid and drunk. But that was all in the past now. He’d make something of himself. In the tourism line. That was it, the future of Glennkill lay in the tourist trade. He must go and talk it over with the lads in the pub.

But first he wanted to take a closer look at the fine black ram. Four horns. Unusual, that. George’s sheep were something special.

However, the black ram wouldn’t let him close enough, and easily avoided Tom’s hand without even moving much.

Then Tom saw the spade.

A good spade. He could do with a spade like that. He decided to consider it his spade in future. For now he’d hide it under the dolmen, and come back to fetch it after dark. He didn’t much like the idea of going to the dolmen by night—people told tales about it. But he was a modern man, and this was an excellent spade. When he grasped the handle, his foot struck something soft.

It was a long time since Tom O’Malley had attracted such an attentive audience in the Mad Boar as he did that afternoon.


Soon afterward, Heather saw a small group of humans running along the path from the village. She bleated: a short bleat—a long bleat, another short bleat—and Othello emerged rather reluctantly from under the dolmen.

The group was led by a very thin man whom the sheep didn’t know. They looked hard at him. The leader of the flock is always important.

Behind him came the butcher. The sheep held their breaths. Even the scent of him was enough to make any sheep go weak at the knees. The butcher smelled of death. Of screams, pain, and blood. The dogs themselves were afraid of him.

The sheep hated the butcher. And they loved Gabriel, who came right behind him, a small man with a shaggy beard, and a slouch hat, walking fast to keep up with the mountain of flesh just ahead. They knew why they hated the butcher. They didn’t know why they loved Gabriel, but he was irresistible. His dogs could do the most amazing tricks. He won the sheepdog trials in Gorey every year. It was said he could talk to the animals, but that wasn’t true. At least, the sheep didn’t understand it when Gabriel spoke Gaelic. But they felt touched, flattered, and finally seduced into trotting trustfully up to him when he passed their meadow on his way along the path through the fields.

Now the humans had almost reached the corpse. The sheep forgot about looking natural for a moment and craned their necks to see. The thin man leading the humans stopped several lamb’s leaps away from George, as if rooted to the ground. His tall figure swayed for a moment like a branch in the wind, but his eyes were fixed, sharp as pins, on the spot where the spade stuck out of George’s guts.

Gabriel and the butcher stopped a little way from the body too. The butcher looked at the ground for a moment. Gabriel took his hands out of his trouser pockets. The thin man removed his cap.

Othello boldly grazed his way past them.

Then, puffing and panting, her face scarlet and her red hair all untidy, Lilly came along the path too, and with her a cloud of artificial lilac perfume. When she saw George she uttered a small, sharp scream. The sheep looked at her calmly. Lilly sometimes came to their meadow in the evening and uttered those short, sharp screams at the least little thing—when she trod in a pile of sheep droppings, when her skirt caught on the hedge, when George said something she didn’t like. The sheep were used to it. George and Lilly often disappeared to spend a little time inside the shepherd’s caravan. Lilly’s peculiar little shrieks didn’t bother them anymore.

But then the wind suddenly carried a pitiful, long–drawn–out sound across the meadow. Mopple and Cloud lost their nerve and galloped up the hill, where they felt ashamed of themselves and tried to look natural again.

Lilly fell to her knees right beside the body, ignoring the grass, which was wet with last night’s rain. She was the person making this dreadful noise. Like a couple of confused insects, her hands wandered over the Norwegian sweater and George’s jacket, and tugged at his collar.

The butcher was suddenly beside her, pulling her roughly back by her arm. The sheep held their breaths. The butcher had moved as quickly as a cat. Now he said something, and Lilly looked at him with tears in her eyes. She moved her lips, but not a sound was heard in the meadow. The butcher said something in reply, then he took Lilly’s sleeve and drew her aside. The thin man immediately began talking to Gabriel.

Othello looked round for help. If he stayed close to Gabriel, he would miss whatever was going on between the butcher and Lilly—and vice versa. None of the sheep wanted to get close to the body or the butcher, which both smelled of death. They preferred to concentrate on the job of looking natural.

Miss Maple came trotting along from the water trough and took over observation of the butcher. There was still a suspicious red mark on her nose, but as she had been rolling in the mud she now just looked like a very dirty sheep.

“…ridiculous fuss,” the butcher was just saying to Lilly. “And never mind making a spectacle of yourself. You’ve got other worries now, sweetheart, believe you me.” He had taken her chin in his sausagelike fingers and raised her head slightly so that she had to look straight into his eyes.


From the Hardcover edition.

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"Swann's quirky premise is well-executed by Bailey, who develops the identity of each member of the flock, young and old, ram and ewe.... Touching fare delivered with aplomb." —-AudioFile

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Three Bags Full: A Sheep Detective Story 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 65 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very creative book since the narrator of the book is a flock of sheep. After a while, the different sheep develop their own personalities. Highly creative. I recommend reading this book in long reading sessions, I read it in short bursts of free time and was a little confused when the solution to the mystery revealed itself to me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Three Bags Full is written by a German writer about the murder of a shepherd of a flock of Irish sheep in Glennkill, Ireland. It's quirky and funny but also philosophical and sad. Actually, it's a great mystery in spite of, or, because the story is told by the sheep and seen through the sheeps¿ eyes and understanding. Swann convincingly relates the story through the various sheep: primarily Miss Maple, the clever one Zora, the brave one Othello, the mysterious black ram Mopple the Whale, the memory sheep and a very large ram. The flock loves their shepherd, George, but during the process of solving his murder, they come to question whether he is really a good shepherd and what makes a shepherd a good shepherd. There are many sinister suspects: Ham the butcher who smells of death, God, the minister who steals souls, and Beth who wants to save George¿s soul to name a few. In their quest to solve the mystery, they turn to Melmoth, the lead ram¿s mysterious twin who left the flock and then returned after George¿s death. Melmoth teaches them to be alert and brave so that they can find the killer, but the killer comes as a total surprise to the sheep and the townspeople. This is a wonderful novel on several levels. It¿s a great story, it¿s thought provoking, and it makes the reader work at interpreting in human terms what the sheep see through their eyes. Truly remarkable and memorable, this takes the animal characters of Rita Mae Brown or Sarah Wittig Albert one step further.
sarah-e on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This book is funny, and actually a good mystery. The sheep don't understand every nuance of human culture (but they are amazingly perceptive), so there's an adorable disconnect that also makes the pacing a little slow. I enjoyed that; it can be a little different because of the sheep. That's the point of the book. If someone isn't open to the very premise of the book, it would be easy to nitpick how it's not exciting or mystery-like. But I loved it, and I want a pet sheep now so I can read to it and give it a silly name. What a good book!
starryharlequin on LibraryThing 5 months ago
A quick, light read. Some of it is very funny, and Swann does a good job of letting the reader understand the progression of the mystery while keeping the sheep's ignorance believable. The ending doesn't live up to the rest of the book, but overall, I was amused and entertained.
myhorsesterling on LibraryThing 5 months ago
i LOVE three bags full it is like my favorite book
anotherjennifer on LibraryThing 5 months ago
When shepherd George Glenn is found in his field with a spade driven through his body, the sheep he leaves behind take it upon themselves to solve the murder. The victim's habit of reading to his flock has rendered the animals unusually intelligent, and each sheep contributes his or her own talent as they observe the villagers of Glennkill in hopes of uncovering the mystery. The best detectives in the flock appear to be the brilliant Miss Maple, smart enough to avoid the trivial "Smartest Sheep in Glennkill" contest, the bold black ram Othello, and the all-remembering (and all-eating) Mopple the Whale. As the sheep piece together clues and debate motives, they find that there's no shortage of suspects: "Bible-thumping Beth" paid George frequent visits, George's wife Kate was unhappy, the neighboring shepherd Gabriel has a strange flock of non-fleecy sheep, and the flock's favorite human to place under suspicion, Ham the Butcher, always smells of "screams, pain, and blood."The novel can be cute and gentle but also darkly humorous, and even though the author has fun with the genre, there are serious elements to the story. Swann strikes a balance between making her furry protagonists intelligent and human enough to have emotional depth while still allowing them to maintain a sheep-y, childlike view of the world. A ram has a point after all, when he notes that death caused by blood-inducing injuries is "All perfectly natural," and no sheep is above ogling aromatic vegetables. While the novel is primarily a mystery, these particular sheep are also rather philosophical and will, for instance, pass their time pondering the "cloud sheep" in the sky, wondering what one does to become a "cloud sheep." Othello in particular is a very introspective ram, having lived through the horrors of a circus and the exoticism of residing in a zoo. The sheep's personalities are treated with as much care as those of any human characters, and the fate of the shepherd-less flock becomes as central to the story as the identity of the murderer. The novel is not a fast-paced mystery, but taking time to graze among the sheep as they wax philosophic about the advantages and downfalls of being part of a flock, whether it's comprised of sheep or humans, is just as rewarding as their moments of amateur sleuthing.
moekane on LibraryThing 5 months ago
original concept, entertaining characters and perspective, but at times unevenly sustained.
Aspenhugger on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This is a delightful book! The author was very creative in seeing the world from sheep's point of view: "Mopple loved misty grass, clear-tasting as water, with all disturbing smells washed off it." or "Mopple looked crossly at the spade. Human tools belonged in toolsheds and not in the meadow. But this spade didn't smell at all the way human tools usually smell, of sweating hands, annoyance, and sharp things, There was only a faint memory of human scent left around this spade; apart from that it smelled as smooth and clean as a wet pebble." The language is a joy and a delight, and makes the whole book well worth reading.The book is touted as "A witty philosophical murder mystery with a charming twist: the crack detectives are sheep determined to discover who killed their beloved shepherd." And in the end they do, although I thought the resolution was a bit underhanded, and left some of the other mysteries unsolved.
tapestry100 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I fell in love with Three Bags Full in it's very first pages. It's a story about Irish sheep who set out on a mission to discover the murderer of their beloved shepherd, George, who has been stabbed through with a spade. It's a story fill with lovable characters; more to point, the sheep, and their thoughts on humans and the way the world works around them and their observations on it all. It's a comedy. It's a mystery. It's a little bit of everything, all rolled into a big, woolly yarn of a tale that is both in turns ingenious, funny and inspiring.When George's flock discovers his body in the meadow one day, stabbed through with a spade, their initial reaction is panic. But to Miss Maple, the cleverest sheep in all of Glennkill, this is something more than just the death of their shepherd: this is a murder mystery. So, she takes it upon herself to discover the murderer, and eventually she is able to convince the rest of the flock to partake in the mystery as well. George was a kind shepherd and took very good care of his sheep, even reading to them in the evenings, and so they take their knowledge of the human character as they have seen through their stories, and begin on a mission to bring justice to their dear, departed shepherd.The village of Glennkill itself is inhabited by a colorful cast of characters, all whom we learn about through the eyes of the sheep. The sheep have a keen perspective on human nature and the character buildup of the members of the village. Through the course of their investigation, however, they do begin to see people in a new light, discovering that everyone may not be categorized into their initial, limited sheepish view of people. It's through these growing observations that the story really starts to take off, as the sheep themselves begin to view themselves differently as they learn to care for themselves without having a shepherd about. The story does end on a rather serious note, going in a direction that I honestly did not expect at all. The book is for the most part a fun little story, humorous throughout (I mean, honestly, how can murder mystery solving sheep not be funny?), yet the story loops around and becomes a lesson learned on people and the solitude that they have in their life. Not that the story ends sadly, but it becomes more philosophical than funny at the end, really making the reader question the life of not only the sheep, but their beloved shepherd as well.I would like to see Swann continue the story of the Glennkill sheep (and she obviously left the story open for more). I would greatly like to see their further adventures and watch them as they discover more mysteries to unravel.
nbmars on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This book has a very clever premise: sheep, whose shepherd, George, is found dead on a hillside in Ireland, take it upon themselves to solve the mystery of his death. Since George had read books to them daily, including detective novels, they are quite familiar with the ways of men, and set out looking for clues.The book begins with a ¿Dramatis Oves,¿ a list of all the sheep who appear in the story along with a brief description of each. Most notable is Miss Maple, ¿the cleverest sheep in the flock, maybe the cleverest sheep in Glennkill, quite possibly the cleverest sheep in the whole world.¿ I also grew quite fond of Mopple the Whale, "a very stout Merino ram ... almost always hungry."The sheep overhear witnesses claiming ¿the Lord took George¿ and this throws them off at first. More confusing, some of the sheep have heard the Lord is a lamb, and others that the Lord is a shepherd. After a bit they decide the local pastor is the Lord, because they once heard him say ¿Welcome to the house of God!¿They also suspect the butcher, simply because they find him to be such a reprehensible fellow.This book has such promise, but I found that reading about sheep can be, well, rather soporific. The pace is a bit slow, as the sheep are easily distracted by fragrant tufts of grass and clover. The humans in the book aren¿t very interesting, except for George, who is dead.My husband and I both read this book, and, as usual, we have two different evaluations:Evaluation by Jill: Oh, how I wish this book were as cute as the idea behind it. But there¿s a reason why counting sheep is recommended for insomnia. It isn¿t a bad book, it just isn¿t as engaging as I had hoped. Rating: 3/5Evaluation by Jim: I enjoyed the book and give it a higher rating than my wife does. The author is quite clever in writing from the perspective of the sheep. For example, they learn a great deal from scent. At the same time, their worldview is extremely limited, all but two of them having spent all of their lives in the same pasture. The eventual solution to the murder is a bit contrived, but the resolution of the inter-ovine relationships seems genuine. Rating: 3.8/5
porch_reader on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I had heard about this book when it came out, and at the time, it aroused my interest. A mystery in which a shepherd is killed and the sheep try to find the murderer - it seemed like a clever premise. But the book doesn't quite deliver. There were a few things that I liked about the book. The sheep are incredibly interesting characters with distinct talents and personalities. Swann does a good job telling the story through their eyes, providing details (types of grass, different scents) that sheep would notice. And there are some pretty funny moments, mostly based on human-sheep misunderstandings. But much of the plot was a bit fuzzy to me (pun intended). Perhaps that is because the story is being told from the perspective of sheep. Even so, it was difficult to piece together the story, and the whodunit seemed to come out of the blue. Most everyone in my book group was somewhat on the fence about this one.
the_awesome_opossum on LibraryThing 5 months ago
A sheep detective story! George the shepherd is found dead in a field one day, with a spade shoved straight through him. His sheep, shepherd-less and terribly loyal, take it upon themselves to solve the crime. This was a fun book, a good whodunnit from an unusual point of view. The sheep are all colorful characters that the reader gets to know throughout the novel, and it's interesting to consider what misconceptions they would have about how the world works. Nice fun fluffy (woolly ;-) ) read
FicusFan on LibraryThing 5 months ago
A fun, quirky book about a flock of sheep investigating the death of their shepherd.The story is told from the POV of the sheep. There are several main sheep characters. They are not super or alien sheep, just sheep that were cared for and respected by their shepherd. The sheep have a small amount of knowledge of the human world, so they see things sheep-centricly. The author does a good job keeping to the sheep POV, though at times it makes the story that deals with the humans and they mystery seem disjointed.I hope the story of their journey to Europe continues.
extrajoker on LibraryThing 5 months ago
first line: "'He was healthy yesterday,' said Maude."This mystery, translated from German, is indeed about a flock of sheep who investigate the untimely death of their shepherd. The novel begins with a "DRAMATIS OVES" (including "Miss Maple," the main detective of the flock; "Othello," the sole black sheep; and "Melmoth" the ovine Wanderer), and it only gets odder from there. In anthropomorphizing the sheep, Swann also demonstrates the flock-like social needs and behaviors of humans. There are parts I didn't much like (such as the way an unknown sheep introduced late in the book acts as a sort of deus ex machina, if you will, in explaining the mystery to the main ovine characters). Overall, though, Three Bags Full is a well-written, entertaining, and even thought-provoking read.
wandering_star on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This is a charming story about a flock of sheep who try to solve the murder of their shepherd. They have the advantage of being able to listen in on private conversations (George, the shepherd, used to read to them every day, so they understand some quite complicated words) - but as you might imagine, they can't always understand the motivations of the humans who are speaking them. But bringing together their various skills, they manage to figure most of it out... if only they can get the message across.I enjoyed this, although the fact that it's quite light-hearted doesn't mean you don't have to concentrate - the storyline is complicated (especially when filtered through the interpretation of a flock of sheep) that you need to make sure you know what's going on!Sample: Miss Maple was the cleverest sheep in all Glennkill. Some even claimed that she was the cleverest sheep in the world, but no one could prove it. There was in fact an annual Smartest Sheep in Glennkill contest, but Maple's extraordinary intelligence showed in the very fact that she did not take part in such competitions.
Groovybaby on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I picked up this book because of the Carl Hiassen blurb on the front cover. I was a little hesitant on doing that as I had been burned int he past by a great author blurb only to find the actual book the blurb as on to be terrible. No so with this one, not so at all. *phew!* My thought at buying this book was, "Carl Hiaasen woudn't steer us wrong, would he?" apparently not, the book was great. A tangled mystery with a surprise ending told by the flock of sheep owned by the shepherd that was murdered. The sheep characters are rich and well developed with personalities that endear them to the reader immediately. The language and dialogue is fast easy reading but not without thoughtful poetic moments. I laughed (a lot), I cried (a little) and twards the end of the book when the mystery wrapped up, I didn't want the tale to end. Superb story, cleverly written and highly reccomended.
Alliebadger on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Seeing the cover or hearing the synopsis you may think it's a fluffy read (no pun intended), but by the end, the wisdom of the sheep far pervades anything the humans did.The basic plot is easy enough: a flock of sheep wake up one morning to see their shepherd dead, a spade driven through his chest. Since his sheep have become extra smart because of all the books he has read them, they decide to solve the mystery themselves.What follows is a delightful story that makes you see humankind through a sheepy perspective. Everything the sheep say and do make sense in a fantastic way, and even though the sheep never fully understand the extent of the dark past surrounding their shepherd, it is easy enough for the human reading it to. This book goes quickly and I dare you to not fall in love with at least one of the sheep.
BoundTogetherForGood on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This was originally written in German. It is the story of a flock of sheep whose shepherd is killed. The sheep are as dull as...sheep. And while the story has its moments...I was still able to finish it.At times the story dragged a bit. I mean, this is a book in which the sheep are narrating the action. Thankfully there is a chart at the beginning of the book that lists the sheep's names and their major characteristics so that one may try to keep things straight.If you love mysteries or you love books written from the perspective of animals, you will likely enjoy this book.
bragan on LibraryThing 5 months ago
When a shepherd is mysteriously killed, his sheep take it upon themselves to solve the case. But, being sheep, they have some unusual and sometimes mistaken perceptions of the things they see and hear. (They're a lot better with the things they can smell, though.)This is kind of a strange book. I don't know why that surprises me, since it's about sheep attempting to solve a murder. But somehow it does, anyway. I think maybe it's because it's such an odd mixture of humor and attempted seriousness. The humor, I will say, is often quite funny in a nicely subtle way. The less humorous stuff might have worked better if I didn't have problems taking the whole sheep thing seriously enough. I don't know why that was an issue for me; I didn't have that problem with the rabbits in Watership Down. Maybe I just have more trouble relating to sheep. I also had some trouble getting into the mystery plot; I never did work up any real interest in the question of whodunnit. Still, there was a certain charm about it all, and I can't help thinking that I really should have enjoyed it a lot more than I did. I suspect that I just wasn't in quite the right mood for it.
cissa on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Interesting murder mystery, with a flock of sheep as the detectives. Unlike many "animal detective" books I've read, the author makes a point of making the sheep be (as much as possible) SHEEP- not little humans in fur coats. The pace is slow but reasonable, and it's an interesting look into what a group-mind (in some ways) might be like in the flock.Recommended, if this sounds intriguing.
blondelawyer on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Surprisingly slow and uninteresting. I was extremely disappointed.
mysterymax on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I stumbled across this book quite by accident while shelf-reading in our large-print section, and I thought it sounded like fun.And fun it was. One morning a flock of sheep awake to find their shepherd dead in the field with a shovel pinning him to the ground. These Irish sheep are clever and understand some human words and concepts because their shepherd used to read to them each day. The cleverest one of them all, Miss Maple, decides that they must find out who killed their shepherd.I loved the way in which the sheep remained sheep. They think (I am guessing) like sheep and they act like sheep, not like people. It was a wonderful look at the human world through the eyes of someone who doesn't quite understand the multiplicity of concepts and layers of meanings that humans take quite as a matter of course. It is almost Zen-like because the sheep don't understand everything the way we would and so they come to the truth of the matter more quickly. Some quite deep concepts are dealt with - such as death, suicide, the will to live, the need for a community, aging, justice, fear and courage. But they are dealt with slowly and simply.This is not a fast-paced book. If you need action, it probably isn't the read for you. This is about a death in rural Ireland, where the pace of life is slower. Each of the sheep in the flock has a real strength and a real personality. The character development of each of the sheep is strong and is as carefully done as if the main characters were people. You get to feel you know each animal; you get to laugh at their silliness; and you get to be amazed at the truths they see.This book is translated from the original German. I hope that her next book with these dear sheep will also become available in English as I would really like to read it.
craso on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This is a sweet and humorous mystery story. A shepherd is found dead by his flock. The sheep decide that he was a pretty good shepherd, so they will find his killer and bring him or her to justice. They ease drop on the humans in the village and search for clues. The sheep find humans to be strange and hard to understand, but these animals are clever and have learned about the human flock and what motivates them through the stories that their shepherd read to them.You will fall in love with the main characters. They are smart, kind, brave and funny. Each sheep has a well defined personality; lead ram, cleverest sheep, woolliest sheep, memory sheep, mysterious ram, sheep with the best sense of smell, sheep with a good head for heights, etc. The sheep are intelligent and they learn from each other and from the humans. They have there own philosophy of life and death. The way they treat each other and live there lives is better than the humans in the village; you stay in your flock and treat each other with respect and kindness then you become a cloud sheep and float away.
TadAD on LibraryThing 5 months ago
The basic story is a mystery: a shepherd is murdered and the book is told from the perspective of his sheep as they try to unravel who did it. It sounded lighthearted, perhaps a bit fluffy, but it might be fun...and, certainly, it has received positive reviews. In the end, I only found it fair. The personalities of the sheep were well done—human-like, but certainly not human—and I enjoyed them. However, the plot could not carry the story: disjointed, lacking in depth, and occasionally venturing off into the metaphysical, which didn't fit the book's type.
Lman on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I am having trouble finding words to adequately express my opinion of this book; adorable, delightful, innovative, original and insightful may serve. Just how do you describe a book titled Three Bags Full, a sheep detective story?For a detective story it is, a classic `whodunnit¿ from the very first page until the very last ¿ but from a most remarkable perspective. When George Glenn, the shepherd, is found dead in the grass beside the hay barn by his flock of sheep, these rather unusual sheep decide to solve the mystery of his death. Thus ensues an investigation of this crime entirely considered through the viewpoint of the flock, and hence an enchanting look at our world through sheep¿s eyes.George was a good shepherd ¿ in the judgement of his sheep; he named them, he cared for them, and significantly, he taught them by reading stories to them every day. The flock comprises some extraordinary members: Sir Ritchfield is the lead ram and hard of hearing; Miss Maple is the cleverest sheep (perhaps in the whole world); Mopple the Whale is the memory sheep, Cloud the woolliest, Maude the warning sheep with an acute sense of smell, Zora has a black face, a head for heights and a set of horns, and Othello, the black sheep has a mysterious past. And Melmoth, he is an enigma, a legend, cognizant with an Irish shore. These captivating characters, with their individual personalities and distinct abilities, put their powers of observation, and their innate teamwork and support network, into unravelling the events surrounding their beloved shepherd¿s demise. Due to his death many locals, and outsiders, now visit the pasture, and the sheep become astute at deciphering the many facets of these visitors¿ personalities through their own inimitable senses; therefore delivering a rather disparaging, inevitably ironic, and oft-times hilarious consensus on our world.This is a very intelligent story. In fact, at times it was easy to reflect that the misinterpretations of the sheep are comparable to any foreigner setting foot on an alien shore. As silly as the premise of this book may seem, the wackiness served only to emphasis the ridiculousness apparent in our everyday lives ¿ the words in our language, the concepts in our religion, the incapacity for us to utilise our senses fully, the illogic in many of our actions; and our ability to grossly ignore situations happening right under our very noses! And the poignancy through this story, the inability of the villagers to work together ¿ as a flock - and thrive in a stable community, for the benefit of that community, in stark contrast to the sheep, offers a discerning insight into our world.The only other difficulty I have is with the title of this book. The original title Glennkill is another clever use of words ¿ entirely apt in reflecting the plot and the book; and I do not understand why such a suitably pertinent name has been overlooked and usurped.I was charmed by this book. At times I was unable to laugh as much as I wished, as the underlying pathos overruled the adroit, wry particulars the author used to express her point. At other times I was unable to read for the tears in my eyes from laughing so much. I can¿t recommend this book enough; this is a pleasure, a treasure and quite exceptional. I will never look at a sheep quite the same way again!