Three Bags Full

Three Bags Full

A Sheep Detective Story

Book - 2006
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Random House, Inc.

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 of books every night. The daily exposure to literature has made them far savvier about the workings of the human mind than your average sheep. Led by Miss Maple, the smartest sheep in Glennkill (and possibly the world), they set out to find George’s killer.

The A-team of investigators includes Othello, the “bad-boy” black ram; Mopple the Whale, a merino who eats a lot and remembers everything; and Zora, a pensive black-faced ewe with a weakness for abysses. Joined by other members of the richly talented flock, they engage in nightlong discussions about the crime and wild metaphysical speculations, and they embark on reconnaissance missions into the village, where they encounter some likely suspects. There’s Ham, the terrifying butcher; Rebecca, a village newcomer with a secret and a scheme; Gabriel, the shady shepherd of a very odd flock; and Father Will, a sinister priest. Along the way, the sheep confront their own all-too-human struggles with guilt, misdeeds, and unrequited love.

Three Bags Full is already an international hit. “It’s rather as if Agatha Christie had re-written The Wind in the Willows, and I ended by loving it, ”Jane Jakeman wrote in The Independent. Funny, fresh, and endearing, it introduces a wonderful breed of detectives to American readers.

Baker & Taylor
In a cozy Irish village, when their beloved shepherd, George, is found struck down by a spade, his flock of clever sheep, led by Miss Maple, the smartest sheep in Glennkill, launches its own investigation to find George's killer among the local village inhabitants.

& Taylor

In a cozy Irish village, when their beloved shepherd, George, is found struck down by a spade, his flock of clever sheep, led by Miss Maple, the smartest sheep in Glennkill, launches its own investigation to find George's killer among the local village inhabitants--including the butcher, a village newcomer with a secret, a sinister priest, and another shady shepherd. 30,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Doubleday/Flying Dolphin Press, 2006, c2005
ISBN: 9780385521116
Characteristics: 515 p. ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Bell, Anthea


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Tedious reading. Repetitive information, and rambling conversations attributed to the sheep had me nodding off every time I tried to get into the story line. So the sheep are ashamed of eating George's vegetable garden, tell me once, stop rubbing my nose in it. I think this would be a charming read for a young adolescent with a good edit to remove some of the too-adult references. It is not a satisfying read for a sophisticated reader.

Oct 19, 2018

Clever story! Even if we know sheep aren't intelligent animals, it's intriguing to read about their detecting abilities. Fantasy and fun. A nice change from stories of human gloom and doom.

Feb 07, 2017

The author definitely is anti-Christian and anti-carnivore but very much into smoking pot. It looks that she even tried to give "grass" to sheep - the description of sheep consuming it in the book sounds very convincing. The most positive characters in the book are drug dealers, the evil one is the Christian butcher.
Pretty stupid ending, the choice of the culprit doesn't sound convincing at all.
By the way, sheep are quite stupid animals - I grew up in the village and I know it. Sheep are unable to recognize their gate if it got wet in the rain and changed colour, let alone to be any kind of detective, even in a story. The author's imagination was definitely boosted by too much pot.

SPL_Shauna Jun 25, 2016

This lovely cozy mystery will suit anyone who loves an amateur sleuth and bloodless murder. If you love a cozy *and* you enjoy Douglas Adams' absurd, clever social commentary, this book is your dream book and you should place your hold IMMEDIATELY.

SPL_Melanie Feb 12, 2015

Looking for a good book to read during the Year of the Sheep? Look no further! This hilarious philosophical mystery is told from the point of view of the sheep...

WVMLStaffPicks Feb 01, 2015

An enterprising herd of sheep whose home is a grassy hillside in Ireland puzzle over the mysterious slaying of their beloved shepherd, George. Miss Maple, quite possibly the cleverest sheep in the whole world, uses sheepish logic and the combined talents of other
members of the flock to solve the mystery. Charming and whimsical, the author creates an almost believable sheep’s eye view of the world of crime.

Aug 28, 2014

A terrific mystery with a unique twist. A flock of sheep investigate how their shepherd was killed. The personalities of each sheep, and their philosophies, view of humans , etc. is absolutely hilarious! The book has a sequel, however it hasn't been translated into English yet (as of 2014).

Jan 08, 2014

Very amusing mystery. Unique with the sheep persective. A fun read.

Librarymama Apr 24, 2013

Even though he was healthy yesterday, George was dead today. And “he didn’t die of an illness [after all] spades are not an illness.” It wasn’t a wolf who had killed their shepherd either. For, as Miss Maple pointed out: “Even the most sophisticated wolves didn’t drive spades through their victims.” And so the sheep of George Glenn’s flock decided to find out who had killed George Glenn of Glennkill. The story follows the slightly woolly thinking processes of: Miss Maple—the smartest sheep in Glennkill; Othello—the black ram with a past; Mopple the Whale—who eats and remembers everything; Zora—the philosopher sheep and a full cast of Dramatis Oves as they seek to serve the cause of “justice.” For those humans who tag along for the unraveling of the mystery, you are in for a delightfully skewed look at the flaws of humankind.

rowanquincy May 16, 2012

A herd of sheep solve a mystery. When I finished, I was disappointed that this is the only book. Had it been part of a series, I would be looking for the next one.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

DanglingConversations thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 13 and 21

Sep 13, 2008

Cathoo thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Subject Headings


Find it at NPL

To Top