Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Books in Brief: Three Bags Full

I belong to DorothyL, a mystery listserv where folks discuss, among other things, mystery novels.  Recently some have read Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann, a sheep mystery.  I'm not kidding.  The sheep try to solve the mystery.  Of course, they don't quite understand the mystery--they're sheep, after all, and therein lies the delight.  Their shepherd has met with foul play and they really aren't sure what will become of them but he was a rather nice shepherd who read aloud to the sheep, which is why they had some grasp of human doings.  One sheep, the cleverest, was Miss Maple and while there was an explanation of how she got her name (involving syrup) I am fairly sure the resemblance to Miss Marple was not unintentional.  My favorite sheep was Mopple the Whale, who was very large and while he was not terribly bright, he never forgot anything.  He reminded me of someone.  I can't think who.
Mopple, er, Melon waiting for a story.  Or a snack.  Preferably both.
 The book is clever and very well written.  Even more astonishingly, this sheepish story set in the hills of Ireland was written by a German. True, she was studying English literature at the time, but still it's pretty amazing.  She's done a sequel in which the sheep get to travel to France.  Alas, it hasn't been translated into English yet.

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