From Publishers Weekly
In this refreshingly original detective story from debut German author Swann, a flock of sheep investigates the murder of their beloved shepherd, George Glenn. Leading the effort is Miss Maple, considered the cleverest sheep in the Irish seaside village of Glennkill. She slyly "pretends" to graze while eavesdropping on suspects who come to search George's caravan for something he may have died for. When a long-lost ram recounts an incident that occurred upon his departure years earlier, Miss Maple uncovers the catalyst for George's death. The wooly troupe reveals the crime's solution in a near-Shakespearean mime at the annual "Smartest Sheep in Glennkill" contest. The author's sheep's-eye view and the animals' literal translation of the strange words and deeds of the human species not only create laugh-out-loud humor but also allow the animals occasional flashes of accidental brilliance. (June)
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*Starred Review* A completely original, sparklingly inventive, cleverly written story, first published in Germany, about a flock of Irish sheep who vow to solve the murder of their shepherd, George. George has always treated the flock like humans, reading to them, feeding them the best fodder, protecting them from the local butcher, acknowledging their individual personalities, and even promising to take them to Europe. Imagine the flock's shock when George is found dead in their meadow with a spade stuck in his chest! Led by Miss Maple, the smartest of them all, the sheep decide they must find out who killed George (depriving them of the best--and only--shepherd they've ever had). How they finally achieve this ambitious goal makes for a quirky, humorous, lively, weird, surprisingly dark yet joyous tale that shows how a disparate set of sheepy personalities can work together for the greater good. Although the plot meanders a bit, readers willing to accept the premise will find themselves engaged--rooting for the sheep, marveling at the ingenuity of the author, or simply enjoying the madcap story. Good fun and a fine first novel from a promising new writer. Emily Melton
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