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The Trouble with Goats and Sheep

Cover of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep

A Novel
Part coming-of-age novel, part mystery, The Trouble with Goats and Sheep is a quirky and utterly charming debut about a community in need of absolution and two girls learning what it means to belong.
England, 1976. Mrs. Creasy is missing and the Avenue is alive with whispers. The neighbors blame her sudden disappearance on the heat wave, but ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly aren't convinced. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, the girls decide to take matters into their own hands. Inspired by the local vicar, they go looking for God—they believe that if they find Him they might also find Mrs. Creasy and bring her home.

Spunky, spirited Grace and frail, nervous Tilly go door to door in search of clues. As the cul-de-sac starts giving up its secrets, the amateur detectives uncover much more than they could have imagined. Instead of finding their missing neighbor, they must try to make sense of what they've seen and heard, and a complicated history of deception begins to emerge. Everyone on the Avenue has something to hide, a reason for not fitting in. It's only in the suffocating heat of the summer, that the ability to guard these differences becomes impossible. Along with the parched lawns and the melting pavement, the lives of all the neighbors begin to deconstruct. What the girls don't realize is that the lies told to conceal what happened one fateful day about a decade ago are the same ones Mrs. Creasy was beginning to peel back just before she disappeared.

For fans of Jeannette Walls's The Silver Star, this "is a gripping debut about the secrets behind every door" (Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry).
Part coming-of-age novel, part mystery, The Trouble with Goats and Sheep is a quirky and utterly charming debut about a community in need of absolution and two girls learning what it means to belong.
England, 1976. Mrs. Creasy is missing and the Avenue is alive with whispers. The neighbors blame her sudden disappearance on the heat wave, but ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly aren't convinced. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, the girls decide to take matters into their own hands. Inspired by the local vicar, they go looking for God—they believe that if they find Him they might also find Mrs. Creasy and bring her home.

Spunky, spirited Grace and frail, nervous Tilly go door to door in search of clues. As the cul-de-sac starts giving up its secrets, the amateur detectives uncover much more than they could have imagined. Instead of finding their missing neighbor, they must try to make sense of what they've seen and heard, and a complicated history of deception begins to emerge. Everyone on the Avenue has something to hide, a reason for not fitting in. It's only in the suffocating heat of the summer, that the ability to guard these differences becomes impossible. Along with the parched lawns and the melting pavement, the lives of all the neighbors begin to deconstruct. What the girls don't realize is that the lies told to conceal what happened one fateful day about a decade ago are the same ones Mrs. Creasy was beginning to peel back just before she disappeared.

For fans of Jeannette Walls's The Silver Star, this "is a gripping debut about the secrets behind every door" (Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry).
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About the Author-
  • Joanna Cannon is a psychiatrist with a degree from Leicester Medical School. She lives in England's Peak District with her family and her dog. The Trouble with Goats and Sheep is her first novel.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 16, 2016
    In her astute, engaging debut, Cannon uses the New Testament parable of the title (in which Jesus separates the good and evil on Judgment Day) to illustrate, wryly and with pinpoint accuracy, the righteous indignation and small-mindedness of a group of gossipy English suburbanites. The citizens ardently believe in their own goodness, and the evil of the man who lives at #11: Walter Bishop. It’s 1976, during the hottest summer anyone can remember, when Margaret Creasy disappears. Most think Walter killed Margaret, but it’s just as likely (or more) that someone else did; as everyone’s confidante, Margaret knew about the secret punishments the citizens inflicted on Walter. Ten-year-old Grace takes a different approach, taking a local vicar at his word when he promises that if her neighbors find God, no one will be lost. She and her best friend, Tilly, will hunt for God—undercover—among their neighbors to find Margaret. Cannon, a psychiatrist, builds her narrative by slowly revealing backstories as the girls conduct their search, and the pieces of an entirely different sort of mystery than the one under investigation cleverly come together. This is an insightful, offbeat mystery. Agent: Sue Armstrong, Conville and Walsh Literary (U.K.).

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The Trouble with Goats and Sheep
The Trouble with Goats and Sheep
A Novel
Joanna Cannon
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