If endless articles about the best debut fiction of 2016 and the hashtag #GoatsAndSheep trending on Twitter isn’t enough to convince you to read The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon, this week’s #50BookPledge Featured Read, perhaps this post will. Because rather than explain to you why I loved this cozy British mystery about how in an ordinary town, on an ordinary street, populated by ordinary people, an unordinary mystery occurs, I will borrow from my fellow Goodreaders. Seven opinions (or all forty, found here) are better than one, right?
But first, some context: It is 1976. England is experiencing the longest, hottest summer it’s had in decades (if ever). Despite the sweltering heat and dead, dehydrated grass, the Avenue is alive with whispers. Mrs. Creasy has gone missing — and has taken the neighbours’ secrets with her. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, two amateur sleuths decide to solve the mystery and ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly spend their summer eavesdropping on secrets and searching for clues. Though I will not reveal whether or not they find Mrs. Creasy, I will say they discover something else: a very Scout Finch-esque coming-of-age when they realize that adults, in fact, aren’t nearly as perfect and rational as children are led to believe.
The Trouble with Goats and Sheep is quite extraordinary. It is a very special novel that should be savoured. There are passages, sometimes just a line, that will make the reader stop and re-read, purely to delight in the way that the words are put together. This is an ambitious story, but also a beautiful story. — Anne (via Goodreads)
Deftly plotted, darkly funny, keenly observant, and just plain wonderfully told. This is both a playful whodunnit and a lesson on the judgements we make of strangers, almost unconsciously, all of the time. I loved it. — Leilah (via Goodreads)
An utterly charming and delightful read with a mystery at heart that will have you wondering more than once whether someone is a gentle sheep following the flock innocently or a feisty goat head butting their way through life. — Jan (via Goodreads)
With this book Joanna Cannon has created two of the most delightful, endearing and entertaining protagonists and written a tale that wraps itself around you. It remains there even after you have turned the last page. — Janet (via Goodreads)
It’s ewe-some! […] Baaaa-illiant! — Emma aka my new best friend (via Goodreads)
(Sorry, had to include that one!)