In the last six months, I read three different mysteries (loosely defined) centered on sheep.
Three Bags Full – a murder mystery in which a flock of sheep tries to find out who killed their shepherd. The author does a great job channeling the sheepish worldview, imagining what it’s like to be a constrained, fenced in animal. There’s a black sheep who has learned to live on its own and a group of meat sheep that are like the jocks of the pasture. But most of this plays for amusement rather than something deeper.
Wild Sheep Chase – an existential detective story in which a lazy adman goes on a journey to track down a missing friend and a strange sheep. Odd and ephemeral, the novel blends the modernist novel worldview (think Graham Greene) with odd twists on detective stories. And on top of it is a woman who looks plain until she sweeps her hair back behind her ears, after which she is gorgeous. She makes a living as an ear model.
Android’s Dream – a science-fiction thriller in which a lazy diplomat super-soldier goes on a journey to track down a missing sheep. In this case, it’s a bio-engineered sheep that’s needed for a political ceremony on an alien planet. It makes sense, really. The best part is that one can’t help but imagine the book will be in conversation with the Philip K. Dick novel to which it’s title refers, when in fact there’s very little to connect them. (There are some overlaps, just not many.)
My hope was that after having read these three novels I would have something significant to say about sheep and mysteries and novels and life. Alas, I got nothin. All three books were enjoyable in their own ways, so I’d recommend them if they sound interesting. But don’t expect your life to change.