I’m back. I’m sorry I abandoned you for so long. I know my last post was back in July of 2020, but I am going to assume that “2020” is explanation enough and move on to a review. Finally.
Like so many readers in the time of COVID, my literary preferences steadily trended towards comfort reads. More than ever I packed my shelves with feel-good books and cozy murder mysteries. My 9 year old son keeps asking me, “Why are you reading about murder?!”, and I know it seems like an odd choice for a comfort read. Yet there’s something reassuring about the cozy mystery genre. Maybe it’s the setting – typically a charming, small town where a plucky amateur sleuth just happens to reside. Or maybe it’s the knowledge that though the book will feature a dastardly crime, the danger will pass and the criminal will be caught (often with some degree of predictability) by plot’s end.
Though most cozy mysteries share common elements and tropes, some authors still manage to put a unique spin on the genre. For a creative take on the cozy murder mystery, look no further than Leonie Swann’s Three Bags Full.
When a flock of sheep find their shepherd lying dead, speared with a garden spade, they dedicate all of their sheepy skills to deductive reasoning and good old fashioned detective work. Hunting for clues lying about their pasture, eavesdropping on suspicious townsfolk, these sheep are downright Sherlockian. Don’t let the fact that the main characters are sheep deter you, for the characters are lively and loveable. Swann delves into the mind’s of livestock with endearing flair. This book is sure to make you chuckle. Though the premise may sound silly, the whimsical story is rooted in a delightfully well-crafted whodunit. I found myself genuinely pulled in to the mystery; unable to predict the resolution.
The next time you’re in the mood for a cozy, I highly recommend this sheep detective story. Swann is a literary talent, and I hope her other novels are soon translated to English because I am eager to read her entire oeuvre.