Suspend belief for a moment here. Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann is a murder mystery whose investigators are grazing, meadow-dwelling, bona fide sheep whose dear shepherd has been purposely impaled with a garden implement.
Now sheep are not stupid creatures. Swann's are positively brilliant, and being put out to pasture is a good thing for a clever, close-knit band of woolly sleuths.
Having better character development than some ordinary mysteries, Three Bags Full includes Sir Ritchfield, the aged lead ram; the most clever sheep, Miss Maple-I couldn't help wanting to insert an "r"--; Mopple, with his amazing memory; and Othello, the black sheep. Go figure.
It is an endearing tale of Babe-minus the pig-meets CSI lite, as enterprising members of the flock put their muzzles to the grindstone to solve the mystery before the rather uninvolved police get the chance.
Together the flock collects clues and analyzes human behaviour, relying on their observations, their own social structure, and knowledge gleaned from novels read to them by George, their former, now deceased shepherd.
This results in some amusing, enlightened, and confused philosophies, and a unique understanding of our two-legged species.
No need to ruminate or be sheepish, the easy conclusion is that Three Bags Full is an imaginative, entertaining mystery, whose shadowy moments are tempered by a sweet innocence that tugs at the heartstrings.
Three Bags Full - A Sheep Detective Story is worth the read.