“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Baa Humbug

Much as we hate to be territorial about Irish crime writing – it is, after all, a pretty broad church – Leonie Swann is testing our limits. Is it because she’s a German author who sets her novel, Three Bags Full, in the fictional Irish village of Glennkill? No. Is it because she’s much more successful at what she does than us, and has garnered a glowing review from Carl Hiassen? Well, only in part. But mainly we’re peeved because Leonie has added to the growing menagerie of cat-and-dog detectives with a rather outrageous twist, to wit:
“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.”
Like, sheep? C’mon, people ... “It’s rather as if Agatha Christie had re-written The Wind in the Willows, and I ended by loving it,” says Jane Jakeman in The Independent. That whirring sound you hear? Yep, it’s Dashiell Hammett perning in his eternal gyre …

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