Gilbert Cruz
June 01, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Three Bags Full

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Leonie Swann
publisher
Flying Dolphin Press
genre
Fiction, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it an A-

It would be easy to think of this novel — in which a flock of Irish sheep investigate the murder of their shepherd — as a silly attempt to inject some life into the crime genre. Despite the whimsical conceit and tone (“Sheep are not talkative folk. That’s because their mouths are often full of grass”), Leonie Swann produces a clever spin on the ol’ whodunit. She stocks Three Bags Full tale with a ewe detective named Miss Maple and a former circus denizen called Othello, each offering hay-filled interpretations of the human world (Jesus on the cross seems to be “the helpless victim of a knife-throwing act”). The result: a delightfully offbeat yarn. A-

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