Three Bags Full

Last updated
Three Bags Full
Three Bags Full cover.jpg
Hardcover edition
Author Leonie Swann
Original title'Glennkill: Ein Schafskrimi'
TranslatorAnthea Bell
Language German
Genre Detective novel
PublisherTransworld Publishers Limited, Doubleday Publishing, Randomhouse Inc.
Publication date
Published in English
Pages368 pp
ISBN 0-385-60994-9
OCLC 64312670

Three Bags Full: A Sheep Detective Story (original German title: Glennkill: Ein Schafskrimi) is a work of detective fiction which features a flock of anthropomorphic Irish sheep out to solve the murder of their shepherd. Written originally in German by Leonie Swann, the novel has been translated into more than 30 languages. [1]



At the beginning of the novel, the sheep belonging to George Glenn awake to find their shepherd dead with a spade in his middle, and resolve to solve his murder. The story is set in the fictional Irish village of Glennkill. Horrified, Miss Maple, the cleverest sheep in the flock (and possibly the world), suggests they find the murderer. The others agree, and Miss Maple volunteers to inspect the body.

A little later, a certain Tom O'Malley finds the body and, panicked, runs to fetch the people of Glennkill. This draws not only the townspeople, but several reporters.

List of Human Characters

Below is a list of notable human characters and their roles. Contains plot details.

George Glenn: Is the shepherd of the flock. He is lonely, depressed, suicidal and feels lost. George is married to Kate and has a mistress, Lily. George has an adult daughter, Rebecca; but he has no relationship with her. Before his death, he wrote a letter to Rebecca. George is a drug trafficker. He uses the sheep as mules to transport marijuana. Unlike the townspeople, George is not interested in expanding the tourist market in his town of Glenkill. With his friend Ham the butcher, George discovered the dead body of McCarthy.

Kate: Once caught in a love triangle between George and the butcher Ham, Kate married George. She gained weight after marriage. Ham continues to love her and pine for her.

Beth Jameson: A devout Christian who lives alone. Beth tells Rebecca that George was never her boyfriend. She left Glenkill for a mission in Africa; and, when she returned, everything had changed. An anxious woman, Beth smells bad to the sheep. After George's sheep reenact his murder at the Mad Boar Pub, Beth speaks to the audience and reveals that George came to her before his death. George told Beth his plans of suicide. After his suicide, Beth drove the spade through his body, as George requested.

Abraham Rackham (Ham): the local butcher and one of George's few friends. Together with George, he discovered the body of McCarthy. Ham loves George's wife, Kate, and installs cameras at his shop so that he can record the moments when she visits his shop. One misty day after George's death Ham tries to steal a sheep from George's flock, falls off a cliff and is paralyzed.

Father William: The sheep name Father William 'God.' He sees the sheep around town and in his church conducting their investigation and becomes very fearful of them.

Inspector Holmes: An ineffective investigator. He does not solve George's murder case, or the McCarthy murder case.

Gabriel: A shepherd with a flock of sheep raised for mutton. George's sheep like him at first and consider him to be a good shepherd, but learn that he is not a very good shepherd. Gabriel is motivated by money.

Josh Baxter: The landlord of the Mad Boar pub. Josh Baxter is interested in expanding the tourist trade in Glenkill because he will benefit financially.

Tom O'Malley: An alcoholic who finds the dead body of George the shepherd. During the smartest sheep contest, Tom is drunk and correctly understands that George's sheep are acting out his murder.

The 'Master Hunter':This character is never named by the author, or the human characters in the story. The sheep recognize his smell and call him the master hunter. He may be involved with drug trafficking.

Rebecca:George's daughter. Her mother is not revealed. She volunteers to take the flock of sheep to Europe and because the sheep choose her over Gabriel, she inherits the flock and shepherding duties. Before his death, George sent her a letter. She intentionally delayed a reply and regretted that decision after his death.

The lawyer:Big bod


Harry the sinner:



Largely humorous in character, the novel displays a strong knowledge of sheep behavior, biology, husbandry and breeds (the merino and hebridean are present, among others). [2] [3] Using the perspective of the flock, Swann makes comedic jabs at human character and institutions. [4] [5]

Related Research Articles

<i>Dial M for Murder</i> 1954 film by Alfred Hitchcock

Dial M for Murder is a 1954 American crime mystery film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings, and John Williams. Both the screenplay and the successful stage play on which it was based were written by English playwright Frederick Knott. The play premiered in 1952 on BBC Television, before being performed on stage in the same year in London's West End in June, and then New York's Broadway in October. Originally intended to be shown in dual-strip polarized 3-D, the film played in most theatres in ordinary 2-D due to the loss of interest in the 3-D process by the time of its release. The film earned an estimated $2.7 million in North American box office rentals in 1954.

Miorița is an old Romanian pastoral ballad and is considered to be one of the most important pieces of Romanian folklore. It has several versions with quite different content. One of these was selected by Vasile Alecsandri to form the textbook reference.

<i>Jamón Jamón</i> 1992 film by Bigas Luna

Jamón Jamón is a 1992 Spanish comedy/drama film directed by Bigas Luna and starring Javier Bardem, Jordi Mollá and Penélope Cruz in her debut film. It centers on a young woman named Silvia played by Cruz. The movie engages in word play and pun and rhapsodises on the juxtaposition of old and new in Spain and many other emotional contrasts such as erotic desire and food.

Kate Spade American fashion designer

Katherine Noel Valentine Brosnahan, known professionally as Kate Spade and Kate Valentine, was an American fashion designer and businesswoman. She was the founder and former co-owner of the designer brand Kate Spade New York.

Janine Butcher Fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders

Janine Butcher is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, introduced in 1989. The character was played by Rebecca Michael from 1989 to 1993, Alexia Demetriou from 1993 to 1996, and Charlie Brooks from 1999 to 2014. Brooks departed on 7 May 2004. After a three episode guest stint in April 2008 which saw the character reappear for her father Frank's funeral, Brooks agreed to reprise her role full-time, returning permanently on 18 December 2008. Brooks then took a break in 2012, with the character off-screen from September 2012 until April 2013. She later departed again, with the character making her final appearance on 20 March 2014.

Alex Cross is a fictional character created by author James Patterson. He is the protagonist of the series of books about a former FBI agent and psychologist who works in Washington, D.C.

<i>The Hireling Shepherd</i> painting by William Holman Hunt

The Hireling Shepherd (1851) is a painting by the Pre-Raphaelite artist William Holman Hunt. It represents a shepherd neglecting his flock in favour of an attractive country girl to whom he shows a death's-head hawkmoth. The meaning of the image has been much debated.

<i>One Missed Call</i> (2008 film) 2008 American horror film remake directed by Éric Valette

One Missed Call is a 2008 supernatural horror film directed by Eric Valette and written by Andrew Klavan. An international co-production between the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany, it is a remake of the 2003 Japanese film of the same name directed by Takashi Miike, which itself was based on the Yasushi Akimoto novel Chakushin Ari. The film stars Shannyn Sossamon, Edward Burns, Ana Claudia Talancón, Ray Wise and Azura Skye.

<i>The Hollow Chest</i> novel by Phoebe Atwood Taylor

The Hollow Chest is a novel that was published in 1941 by Phoebe Atwood Taylor writing as Alice Tilton. It is the fifth of the eight Leonidas Witherall mysteries.

Shepherd Person who tends, feeds, or guards flocks of sheep

A shepherd or sheepherder is a person who tends, herds, feeds, or guards herds of sheep. Shepherd derives from Old English sceaphierde.

<i>Dexter</i> (season 2) season of television series

The second season of Dexter premiered on September 30, 2007, and ended on December 16, 2007. "It's Alive", the season premiere, attracted 1.01 million viewers in the United States, making Dexter the first Showtime series to attract more than a million viewers with a season premiere. The season finale, "The British Invasion", attracted 1.4 million viewers, making it the program's most-watched episode until the airing of the season three finale, "Do You Take Dexter Morgan?". Including digital video recorder (DVR) usage, season two was watched by an average of 2.4 million viewers on a weekly basis through 11 full weeks, outperforming season one by 21%. The season received universal acclaim from critics, and was praised as "one of the best shows on TV this decade" by the Chicago Sun-Times, while Variety considers Hall's portrayal of the title character as a "towering achievement, one that eclipses the show's other shortcomings and rough patches"; the aggregate site Metacritic scored the season at 85 out of 100 based on 11 reviews.

<i>Angel: A Maximum Ride Novel</i> book by James Patterson

Angel: A Maximum Ride Novel is the seventh and penultimate novel in the Maximum Ride series created by James Patterson. It was released on February 14, 2011.

<i>The Dressmaker</i> (Ham novel) book by Rosalie Ham

The Dressmaker is a Gothic novel written by the Australian author Rosalie Ham, and is Ham's debut novel. It was first published by Duffy & Snellgrove on January 1, 2000. The story is set in a 1950s fictional Australian country town, Dungatar, and explores love, hate and haute couture.

Coda (<i>The Walking Dead</i>) 8th episode of the fifth season of The Walking Dead

"Coda" is the eighth episode and mid-season finale of the fifth season of the post-apocalyptic horror television series The Walking Dead, which aired on AMC on November 30, 2014. The episode marks Lennie James's second uncredited post-credits appearance in the fifth season as Morgan Jones. The episode was written by Angela Kang and directed by Ernest Dickerson.

<i>A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon</i> 2019 film directed by Will Becher and Richard Phelan

A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon is a 2019 stop-motion animated science fiction comedy film produced by Aardman Animations. Directed by Will Becher and Richard Phelan in their directorial debuts, it is the stand-alone sequel to Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015) and is based on the claymation television series Shaun the Sheep, in turn based on the 1995 film A Close Shave created by Nick Park. The film stars Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes, Kate Harbour and Rich Webber reprising their roles from the series and the previous film, whilst new cast members include Amalia Vitale, David Holt and Chris Morrell. In the film, Shaun and the flock encounter a cute alien with extraordinary powers, who crash lands near Mossy Bottom Farm. They have to find a way to return her home in order to prevent her falling into the hands of the Ministry for Alien Detection.


  1. Brunskill, Ian (2006-06-03). "Graze anatomy". The Times . London. Retrieved 2008-01-13.
  2. Jakeman, Jane (June 23, 2006). "Four legs good, two legs bad". The Independent . London. Retrieved 2008-01-13.
  3. Ephron, Hallie (June 24, 2007). "Sherlocks in sheep's clothing". The Boston Globe . Retrieved 2008-01-13.
  4. Sansom, Ian (July 22, 2006). "A shaggy sheep story". The Guardian . London. Retrieved 2008-01-13.
  5. Vishrup, Amy (June 21, 2007). "Books Newly Released". The New York Times . Retrieved 2008-01-13.