On a hillside near the cosy Irish village of Glennkill, a flock of sheep gather around their beloved shepherd George, who lies murdered, his body pinned to the pasture with a spade. Fortunately, George has left behind an unusually intelligent group of sheep. Every night since they were lambs, he has read aloud to them – fairy tales, factual books about ovine disease, even detective stories – in order to help them sleep.
Faced with a real-life investigation, the flock spring into action. They are led with fortitude by Miss Maple, the cleverest sheep in Glennkill and possibly the world, She is aided by Cordelia, who loves long words; and Othello, a ram with a dark past. Together they uncover the truth behind the life and death of their shepherd. Why did George tie little packets under their bellies before they crossed the meadow? And whose blood does Ham the butcher have on his hands?
While some of the detectives insist on chewing the evidence, or even forgetting it, together they succeed in shedding the revelatory light on the inexplicable world of human beings, and even on themselves.
©2006 Leonie Swann (P)2011 Random House Audio Go
from Literary Exploration
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 that they were the only part of the book that I actually enjoyed. In the end I just felt the book was too cutesy for my likely.
"Lovely story, beautifully read by Hugh Lee"
This is one of those audiobooks where the narration really enhances the experience. It was complete chance that I decided to buy this as an audiobook (having seen it mentioned in a Guardian article about books featuring animals) and I'm so glad I did. This is a lovely story by Leonie Swann, gentle, funny and warm. Hugh Lee's narration is wonderful, he gives all the sheep distinctive voices and personalities that considerably add to the story. I was distraught when it ended, I wanted it to carry on forever. I can't recommend it highly enough. I have now downloaded other books narrated by Hugh Lee, and am sorry to discover that this is the only book by Leonie Swann on Audible.
Hard to pick one moment. Generally any scene involving Mopple the Whale.
It made me both laugh and cry, and feel all warm and fuzzy. A true antidote to stress.
"Wonderful, entertaining and charming"
I like to change the pace of my listens, following a dark Jo Nesbo with an Agatha Raisin comic piece. It was in the expectation of Agatha type wit that I bought Three Bags Full.
But, Leonnie Swann's herd of detective sheep are in a league of their own, a creation of sensitive observation of animal behaviour and great imagination. Brilliant.
Hugh Lee is rapidly rising to no. 1 spot in my personal 'best narrator' top ten. The characterization of each individual is thorough, distinctive and utterly convincing. This is a group (flock) piece, each character adding a particular spice to the mix, so it is not really fair to single out one. They all have a charm and appeal. The dialogue is brilliantly dramatised and articulated, and Hugh Lee's reading style in descriptive passages is easy and flowing. There is a sense of a lot of background and preparatory work before the recording being worn lightly in a confident, polished performance.
There are lots of moments to note, but saying anything here risks me writing spoilers that would undermine the narrativeand plot... So you will just have to find out for yourself!
I really, really enjoyed this and hope to hear more from Leonnie Swann.
What a way to tell a story differently! Having the sheep tell the story and expess their views, opinions and thought was a brilliant idea by author Leonie Swann. Three Bags Full is the perfect combination between humour, excitement and crime!
"Takes a while"
The story takes a while to get in to, and at first you wonder how on earth the sheep can discover enough clues, but it's done really well and I actually miss the sheep now it's finished!
I would definitely give a different Swann book a go- she writes with great voice and rhythm.
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