|The Trouble with Goats and Sheep : Joanna Cannon|
I think The Trouble with Goats and Sheep* is one of those books which you just won't have been able to avoid hearing about. There has been so much chat about it, I knew it would have to feature on my reading list pretty soon.
Luckily, penpal Amy came to rescue and posted me a copy a few weeks ago and I made a start as soon as I'd finished what I was reading at the time. Although I often read more than one book at a time, I try not to get too carried away as I struggle more with the ones I can't get into right away.
Anyhow, within a couple of chapters, I was hooked on ten year old Grace's account of her life and her neighbours, one of whom has gone missing. Set in the hottest summer on record (1976), Grace and her best friend, Tilly, set about trying to find out what caused Mrs Creasy's disappearance. The girls pose as Brownies working towards badges as a ruse to get into their neighbour's homes and try to solve the mystery which may or may not be a mystery.
Elsewhere in the street, the neighbours are also trying to figure out what could have caused Mrs Creasy's disappearance. As the chapters roll on, narrative is shared between some of the other neighbours, most of whom seem to have a few secrets of their own.
Flashbacks to previous years allude to the fact that a group of the neighbours have been involved in something which they wouldn't wish for anyone to find out about, so concerns about just what Mrs C might know are rife up and down the street.
Although I did enjoy this book, finishing it within a couple of hours of opening it, I felt that the number of secrets revealed by the various neighbours affected the impact of them slightly. Rather than being shocked with some of the things which had happened to these characters, I found myself thinking "oh, another secret then?", which I don't think was the effect Cannon was aiming for.
Nonetheless, I'd recommend it and urge you to have fun uncovering the mysteries contained within.
(*Please note, there aren't any sheep or goats in the book).