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Three Bags Full (Sheep Detective Story #1)

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  6,966 ratings  ·  1,226 reviews
A witty philosophical murder mystery with a charming twist: the crack detectives are sheep determined to discover who killed their beloved shepherd.

On a hillside near the cozy Irish village of Glennkill, the members of the flock gather around their shepherd, George, whose body lies pinned to the ground with a spade. George has cared for the sheep, reading them a plethora o
ebook, 368 pages
Published June 5th 2007 by Broadway Books (first published 2005)
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Mar 16, 2012 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone not fearful of appearing sheepish
Recommended to Mike by: Goodreads Group Literary Exploration
Three Bags Full: Leonie Swann's novel of Sheepish Detection


My thanks to the group Literary Exploration. Without the group's selection of Three Bags Fullas our group read for March, 2012, I doubt I would have ever picked up this little gem, even though I had spotted it on the shelves of our local Barnes & Noble.

A detective novel where sheep are the detectives? The thought of it makes one feel a bit, well, sheepish.

However, Leonie Swann pulls off this woolly caper with style and flair. When
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
A wonderful, priceless book, full of wit and philosophical musings and profound observations.

One morning at the small village of Glennkill, Ireland, a small flock of sheep wake up to find that their shepherd, George Glenn, has been murdered. With a spade through his guts. Miss Maple, the cleverest sheep in Glennkill, decides they should investigate and find his murderer, because even though George was a bit of a peculiar and irrascible bastard, he was still their shepherd, and who would read "Pa
I never thought I would find myself commenting in a book review about how realistic the sheep characters seemed to be. But in Leonie Swann’s delightful murder mystery, I repeatedly found myself thinking “Yes! I bet that’s exactly what a sheep would think!” While these crime-fighting sheep are smart and understand English, they are still just so…sheepy that I had no trouble losing myself in their world. The author’s depiction of flock’s attempt to make sense of certain quirks of human behavior fr ...more
It's a cute premise: a dead shepherd is discovered by his flock of sheep with a spade sticking out of his chest, and the sheep then set out to solve the mystery of the shepherd's murder. Fine. I have no problem with cute.

The problem with this book is that it's just not a very good mystery, despite the billing. The clues are often garbled in translation from human to sheep and back again, such that the reader loses a clear sense of what's actually happening. The clues we do have don't add up to m
I have to write a revised review. I have to exIplain more clearly why I really liked this book, beyond the fact that it still keeps me laughing even though I read it years ago!

I NEVER read mystery or crime novels. And yet I loved it! I never read fantasy books, and I loved it. Why? Well b/c the sheep are so wonderful. They are determined to find the murderer of their beloved Glen, whom they love b/c he was so sweet and caring to them. He read them stories..... every night. He taught them a lot.
A shepherd is murdered and it's up to the flock to find out whodunnit. Lead by the intrepid Miss Maple, a delightful cast of sheep characters put their fluffy, fleece heads together to crack the case.

As a murder mystery, this book isn't that entertaining, but as a parody of the Miss Marple books, it is fantastic. Each sheep in the flock has a distinct character that gives it a unique ability to contribute to the case (these traits are listed in the front of the book with the character, just like
Sian Jones
Nov 24, 2007 Sian Jones rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: mystery
Read this book now! Stop whatever you are doing, turn off whatever's cooking on the stove, turn off the music you were just listening to, put down whatever lesser book you thought you'd read: go to a (locally owned/used) bookstore and buy this book. It's one of those books that if it had been written even the tiniest bit differently, the entire wondrous thing would have collapsed. But it's brilliant, it's just brilliant. It's like Watership Down meets Ruth Rendell, but with a higher percentage o ...more
This is something else. And something else is good.

Do you think sheep are stupid? Do you think all they do the whole day long is eating grass? Far from it!

When their sheepheard George is killed, his sheep decide to bring down the murderer together. After all George read a murder story for them once, so how hard could it be? So the sheep, as crime investigator number one the most intelligent sheep-lady of Ireland, called Miss Maple (hey, you know this name? I do!), start to investigate.
But this i
Sheep, it turns out, have quite a bit in common with humans. We are both gossipy, superstitious, and prone to exaggeration. Like us, sheep have theories about life after death - (you become a fluffy, cloud sheep in the sky), and prejudices - (goats are crazy). And occasionally, someone will offer up sane words of advice that both sheep and humans would do well to heed:

"You shouldn't believe what you don't understand. You should understand what you believe.

The sheep in this book can talk, but onl
Mar 27, 2009 Terence rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery fans, sheep-novel fans
Recommended to Terence by: Maevisvintage
Shelves: mysteries-noir
Rating: 3.8 stars, I’m rounding up

Three Bags Full is, without a doubt, the best sheep detective novel ever written. It’s a very fun read that can be enjoyed as a simple diversion from life’s cares or as a serious, if humorous, look at dealing with “guilt, misdeeds, and unrequited love” (back cover).

The story begins when George Glenn’s flock discovers his dead body in their meadow one morning. An uncommon shepherd, George had been in the habit of reading to his sheep – primarily trashy romances (
An interesting concept that had me wanting to read it the moment I was told about it. Set in rural Ireland this books is about a flock of smarter-than-your-average sheep who set out to discover the truth behind the murder of their beloved shepherd. Led by the smartest sheep, Miss Maple, the rest of the flock, including Othello (the black sheep - literally and figuratively), Mopple (the sheep who never forgets), Sir Ritchfield (the aged lead ram) and a host of others, search for clues and motives ...more
Jan 19, 2013 Laura rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Agnostics, atheists, vegetarians
Recommended to Laura by: Chrissie
3.5 stars. There were aspects I loved and aspects I could've done without here.

I think she did sheep POV very well. At times, it did make me laugh out loud, and I don't commonly laugh out loud easily. I have a weird sense of humor. This book could be very clever at times. I loved the sheep, and I felt that she very cleverly told the story from their point of view. I've never had a conversation with a sheep, lol, but this aspect felt very true to me.

Maybe I'm dense, but parts of this went right
Me he carcajeado a cascoporro, me daba tanta pena terminarlo que aplacé el momento todo lo que mi curiosidad por conocer el desenlace me permitió; desenlace afortunadamente imprevisible. Este rebaño de ovejas ávidas por que les lean, si son novelas rosas, de Pamela, como las llaman ellas (aunque no hacen ascos a las novelas policiacas), mejor que mejor, me ha conquistado. Mi querencia por lo negro me lleva a encariñarme con el carnero Othello (una de tantas referencias literarias que abundan en ...more
Charles Suffredini
Oct 14, 2007 Charles Suffredini rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: my mom
I remember a story my Mom told me about waiting in line to turn in her cable box. It was a torturous line and an older guy storms in, tosses his box and remote on the counter and amid curses departs shouting "Sheep! You are all SHEEP!! Baaaaaa!"

I like that it is from the perspective of sheep. I really liked how the sheep perspective developed a true respect for the view from the outside in. I even laughed out loud a couple of times over sheep antics since it so closely related to events in the o
Who would not be passionate about a book that has a lead sheep detective named Miss Maple? And a lovely, dim, fluffy sheep named Cloud? Or a black ram named Othello? I could not resist; I could not put it down. I love this book - the solving of the murder of their shepherd, George, is only part of the appeal.The fact that they think humans must only have small souls because of their inferior sense of smell is only the tip of the iceberg as to why these characters are so endearing. At one point, ...more
Perhaps it was inevitable that I'd like Leonie Swann's sheep detective novel). For one thing, it got a good review from a friend of mine, which is why I asked for it for my birthday in the first place. And for another, it's about sheep. Granted, they're not Welsh sheep, but hey, that's not their fault. It's an interesting way to tell a story -- a shepherd dies, and his flock set out to discover his murderer? It kept me guessing in a fun way because you're limited to what the sheep can see/hear a ...more
This is a wonderful book. Crime-fighting sheep! Set in Ireland! What more could you ask for?

The back cover says it has been translated into 32 languages (from the original German). I can certainly understand why. Totally charming and hilarious - I stayed up until 5am last night to finish it. It's a wonder the hotel guests in neighboring rooms didn't complain about my loud guffaws.

If you can make room for only one book about crime-fighting sheep (the smartest of whom is called Miss Maple) this su
A murder solved or attempted to be solved by sheep. Swann does have her sheep think like sheep, or at least they seem to. They still sheep during the course of the whole book, that is they still in character. And that might be the problem I have with the ending. The ending seems almost too pat, though the sheep's reaction to it was well done. The book does start very slow, however, that might be due to the translation more than anything.
Book Concierge
Audiobook performed by Josephine Bailey

In the village of Glennkill a flock of sheep emerge from the hay barn to begin their daily grazing, only to discover their shepherd dead, a spade pinning his body to the ground. Who killed him? George was a wonderful shepherd, and frequently read to them. They especially liked the love stories and mysteries, and so they feel qualified to begin investigating. The sheep are determined to find out who the killer is and bring him or her to justice.

I was comple
Three Bags Full, good read. Definitely a good summer read. Yes, it’s an animal mystery novel. But don’t read it for that. It is a delightful poke at people. For me the best parts of the book have to do with sheepish metaphysics and aesthetics. As you may have picked up in other reviews, the flock has a peculiar understanding about souls and just how big a man’s soul might be. Not to mention the afterlife. Here is a passage I liked:

“Maple realized that she was feeling uncomfortable, from her hoov
I was not expecting to enjoy this book. I am not normally someone who likes the cute-animals-solve-a-murder subgenre of the mystery genre, and I really tend to despise the cozy end of the mystery genre in general, so I didn't go into it expecting much. I was reading it for a book club I was in, and I didn't pick it up until the day before our meeting to discuss the book. For that reason, I didn't have time to get through the entire book before the meeting, but I was surprised to find myself flyi ...more
I learned about Three Bags Full from the NYT book review and was immediately interested-- a dead shepherd.. and a murder mystery from the point of view of his literary flock of sheep? winner!

The structure of the book itself is slyly quaint. It opens with "Dramatis Oves" (sheep only, obvi.) and neatly and wittly heads each chapter title.

I gave Three Bags Full four stars is because it's oddly innovative and wackily off-kilter. The (myopic) narrative lens is applied deftly and way more effectively
The Flooze

Three Bags Full is a delightfully clever murder mystery, filled with endearing characters, sinister activities, and astoundingly thoughtful observations.

Leonie Swann's humorous tale of determined, inquisitive sheep is striking in many ways. Lovely in its cadence and poetic meanderings, the language alone is enthralling. The descriptions of sea and sky, air and earth, are all so vivid. There’s a wonderful flow to the text, tripping lightly yet assuredly through the sheep’s thoughts until you
I wanted to like this more than I actually did, but I’m awarding a third star because it’s such a quirky idea for a book: a flock of sheep in a small Irish village try to solve the mystery of who murdered their beloved shepherd.

For the most part I enjoyed the sheep. The descriptions of their personalities, their various strengths and weaknesses, and their grazing preferences was amusing. I got the feeling that some stuff would have been funnier if I had actually ever spent any time observing she
I was completely sold when I heard this description: “A flock of sheep investigates the murder of their shepherd.” How can you go wrong? The book even has a list of the sheep at the beginning, with descriptions such as “Willow - the second most silent sheep in the flock; no one minds that.”

So far as murder mysteries go, I loved this one until the last quarter of the book. Maybe I’m just too picky about endings; maybe there just aren’t any great endings anymore. Either way, I was fairly disappoin
My first impression of this book was; it reminded me of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time in the sense of an unlikely detective solving a crime. It was probably with this thought that made me not enjoy this book as much as expected. While there is some very interesting concepts in this book; it has a very philosophical theme throughout of this book, I thought the author padded the book a little too much. While the sheep made for very interesting and enjoy about characters, I felt ...more
3.5 Stars
This book was so funny and I really liked it! But it took so much time to read it and I don't even know why...
So, how can one deny himself a book about talking sheep. Talking sheep that solves murder. Talking sheep that solves murder and make you fall in love with them (alas, not the first time I fall for a sheep).
Well one couldn’t, or rather shouldn’t.
It’s a funny book, clever, intriguing and full of warmth.
Wonderful read.
I discovered ‘Three Bags full’ by Leonie Swann during one of my random browsing sessions at the bookshop. I thought I will read it for German Literature Month, which is hosted this month. I did a readathon yesterday and finished the book. This is what I think.

What I think

Glennkill is a village and a meadow in Ireland. One morning the sheep which graze there discover that their shepherd, George Glenn, is dead, with a spade driven through his body. They want to find out who killed their beloved sh
It's been quite a few years since I visited rural England. But at the time, sheep were everywhere. And everywhere they went they grazed. Parks. Soccer fields. Beside houses and restaurants. Sometimes they would look up and look at you (mainly if you came too close to them) but usually they just stood or layed around eating grass. And people just ignored them.

So, when the shepherd of a small, diverse and odd flock of sheep shows up dead they are able to wander around and investigate his death, wo
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2015 Reading Chal...: Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann and Anthea Bell 12 65 Mar 31, 2015 11:32AM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Glennkill 1 11 Jan 12, 2015 12:20AM  
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Leonie Swann (b. 1975 Dachau near Munich, Germany) is the nom de plume of a German crime writer. She studied philosophy, psychology and English literature in Munich, and now lives in Berlin.
More about Leonie Swann...

Other Books in the Series

Sheep Detective Story (2 books)
  • Garou. Ein Schaf-Thriller (Sheep Detective Story, #2)

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“No sheep may leave the flock," he said to anyone who would listen, "unless he comes back again.” 14 likes
“The sea looked as if it had been licked clean, blue and clear and smooth, and there were a few woolly little clouds in the sky. Legend said that these clouds were sheep who had simply wandered over the cliff tops one day, special sheep who now went on grazing in the sky and were never shorn. In any case, they were a good sign.” 7 likes
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