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Three Bags Full: A Sheep Detective Story Paperback – 3 Jun 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 341 pages
  • Publisher: Flying Dolphin Press; Reprint edition (3 Jun. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767927052
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767927055
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 163,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


The Internationally Bestselling Novel of Crime-Busting Sheep
"Sheep make great detectives. I loved this book."
--Robert B. Parker
"Refreshingly, joyously different."
--"Sunday Telegraph"
"Moments of High Comedy come thick and fast....This entertaining, lighthearted mystery is told from a refreshingly novel perspective."
--"Daily Mail
""Genuinely odd and affecting...The best sheep detective novel you'll read all year."

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

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The most hilarious book I've ever read. The main characters of this book are a flock of sheep living on the green hills of an Irish village called Glennkill. Their characterization is to the point and so convincingly realistic that you can even imagine them being sheep next door, very special sheep who love tomato salad and geraniums...

One morning, the sheep get out of the shelter where they always sleep, when they discover their shepherd George lying on the wet grass of Glennkill, dead, with a shovel still sticking in his chest. Due to the fact that George used to read out detective stories to them, they know what to do, especially Miss Maple and Mopple the Whale. The detailed description of Miss Maple as the cleverest sheep of the flock, maybe of Glennkill and possibly in the whole world is definitely a perfect copy of the cunning movie detective Miss Marple. Mopple the Whale is "the memory sheep", Miss Maple tells him everything and he remembers it. Mopple is also the most hoggish sheep of the flock, he's always the first sheep to get hungry. This flock of sheep is very special, they even create a little garden which none of the sheep shall ever touch at the place where the most delicious herbs grow and they call it "George's place". Once they even have to defend this place against another flock of sheep.

The highly witty descriptions, for example, of sheep jiggling their ears because of excitement or fear make the book very funny and exciting at the same time. Every time a sheep jiggles its ears, you know that something is going to happen.

The author of this book, Leonie Swann, was born in 1975 in Dachau, Germany. Her first novel "Three bags full - A sheep detective story" was published in 2005 and it was originally written in German.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the most enjoyable (mystery) books I've ever read! I've shared it with many friends. I understand there is a sequel, but it's not out (yet?) in English. I hope it will be published in English soon!
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Format: Audio CD
This book is so skillfully written and was such a pleasure to read, especially as a way of escaping from busy working day. The sheep are adorable and the mystery murder is very skillfully presented.The book is written in a very simple, child-story style but don't be fooled! There is a lot of truth about human nature and its weaknesses playfully weaved in the sheep' conversations.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My son absolutely adored this book but I didn`t. I gave it to a neighbour..... I was hoping for a hilarious read about some sheep who solve a hill side murder but it simply didn`t do it for me!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars 124 reviews
44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but Meandering -- Kind of Like its Protagonists... 20 July 2007
By A. Ross - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Translated from German, set on the Irish coast, and featuring a flock of sheep as protagonists, this debut channels Agatha Christie, Gary Larson (of "Far Side" fame), and "Murder, She Wrote" in a story about the murder of a shepherd and his flock's attempt to unmask his killer and bring about justice. The sleuthing sheep are a great conceit, and one that, for the most part, carries the book through the somewhat meandering and slow-developing story.

Things kick off with the shepherd dead in his field with a spade through his heart. It's certainly amusing to watch the sheep try and understand the reactions of the various humans who discover the body and the reactions the killing provokes amongst the townspeople. In homage to their beloved master and inspired by a detective story he read to them, they vow to see justice done (even if they are somewhat hazy on what that means). The sheep are greatly handicapped by their limited exposure to human affairs, not to mention generally poor memories and short attention spans. However, this is somewhat balanced by their noses, which can scent lies, fear, and other human qualities. Led by the inquisitive ewe Miss Maple (that's Ms. Marple, in case you missed it...), they are soon skulking around the village, peering in windows, and eavesdropping left and right.

The book runs into a little bit of trouble in its need to maintain the sheep's perspective on events -- which makes things somewhat more oblique and drawn out than might be ideal. The central story is also sidetracked somewhat when the long-lost brother of the flock's lead ram mysteriously reappears and starts making all manner of enigmatic statements. But it's all generally entertaining enough to maintain the reader's interest until the end. Some may get added enjoyment from trying to spot the various literary allusions (such as Wuthering Heights, and gothic horror Melmoth the Wanderer), but on the whole, one's enjoyment is probably proportional to how interesting one finds the basic conceit of sheep as amateur sleuths.
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a woolly good read 13 July 2007
By Sarah - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This story is a really fun mystery told from the perspective of a few intrepid sheep. They've got a murder to find justice for, and no amount of tempting clover can keep them off the scent. I really did find the book quite clever and the author was good at constructing an engaging mystery.

The best part is how human behavior is interpreted from the sheep perspective. Through the course of their investigation they make some revelations of humans and their motivations that are both sheepy and accurate. Despite the mystery, the book is very relaxing and fun. A perfect choice for readers who love quirky stories from alternate perspectives.
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Different and Fun 3 Aug. 2007
By Kara J. Jorges - Published on
Format: Hardcover
When I saw this murder mystery about sheep, I had to read it. I was not disappointed. Though its pace is a bit pastoral, it's a pretty good read, and the author did a great job of depicting the dynamics present in a flock of sheep.

Though the flock agrees that George wasn't the best shepherd in the world, he wasn't all that bad, and he was theirs. When his body is found lying in their meadow with a spade stuck through it, they decide they need justice. Working together with their variety of skills, the sheep decide to investigate George's murder themselves. Their suspects include the local butcher, the vicar (amusingly referred to as God by the sheep, as he occupies God's house), George's estranged wife, a neighbor named Beth who was always trying to save his soul, and another shepherd named Gabriel whom the sheep look up to at first, until they find out some very unpleasant things about him. The author did a fine job with the sheep's often warped comprehension of human conversations and actions, as well as creating very amusing interplay among the sheep. It was also a lot of fun watching the reactions of the human characters when they realized that George's sheep were no ordinary flock.

The pace is a bit slow for the first half of the book, and I was a bit disappointed by the outcome of the murder mystery aspect, but overall, it was a very enjoyable, highly creative book. There were several spots where I laughed out loud, and the author did a wonderful job in crafting the personalities of sheep. For a fun, quirky mystery tale quite different from the norm, this book is a winner.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does for sheep what WATERSHIP DOWN did for rabbits 31 July 2007
By Corinne H. Smith - Published on
Format: Hardcover
A flock of sheep finds its shepherd dead, and the members of the flock want to figure out what happened and why. Their only limitation is -- well, that they're sheep instead of humans. In most instances, they can only react to information and events that are presented to them. They can listen to what the humans around them are saying, and they can observe human behavior, but they're hampered by not being able to ask questions or launch a traditional investigation. Miss Maple, said to be the cleverest one in the bunch, leads question and answer sessions among the sheep and keeps prodding them toward conclusions. (She earned her name by licking syrup off the shepherd's sandwiches, of course.) The sheep are not without their own special resources, though. Key among these is the importance of scents and smells, which they can analyze better than any Two Legs can. Gradually they figure out a way to unveil the person they believe to be the murderer -- by making an appearance at the Smartest Sheep in Glennkill contest at the Mad Boar tavern. But will the humans understand them?

Delightfully literal insights abound here, as the text is told from the viewpoint of the sheep. For example, they misunderstand an early conversation among the humans; and from that point on, they think the local minister's name is "God." Though the book bogs down about three-quarters of the way through, another reviewer was right on the mark by saying that the text meanders just like its main characters do. The denouement at the Mad Boar paints a scene of the senses that can only be imagined and laughed at.

This is a magnificent first novel for this German author, and the English translation seems to do justice to the original text, as it is never clumsy or stilted. An extra bonus appears at the bottom corner of the right-hand pages, where a hand-drawn sheep is seen in various poses. Handle this like a children's flip book, and you'll see the sheep leaping in animation as you go. What a lovely and playful touch!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What a skillfully constructed, witty and original book. 11 July 2007
By B. A Varkentine - Published on
Format: Hardcover
If you read only one detective novel about a murdered shepherd told from the perspective of his sheep, translated from the German and written by a woman who looks like Emily Watson's twin this decade, this should be the one.

It's genuinely fun and funny, yet also a serious mystery, one of the best I've read in years.

Were it not for a couple hints of sex and drugs (but nothing that should get worse than a PG-13 rating) and some other serious subjects, I'd say: Get this to Pixar at once.
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