Mrs Creasy is missing and The Avenue is alive with whispers. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly decide to take matters into their own hands.
And as the cul-de-sac starts giving up its secrets, the amateur detectives will find much more than they imagined…
My View (no spoilers)
The Trouble with Goats and Sheep is a perfect snapshot of what it was like growing up in the 1970s. The book in set in the scorching summer of 1976 on an Avenue in the Midlands where the neighbours all know each other and… each other’s secrets.
The book deftly explores religion, racism, mistrust, friendship and guilt. Some of the book is narrated in the first person by 10 year old Grace Bennett, whose childlike inquisitiveness is awakened as she and her friend Tilly try to make sense of the world. Their neighbour Margaret Creasy has gone missing and the girls resolve to find out why. They decide to visit each of the neighbours, including the strange Mr. Bishop at number 11, and quiz them on the possible whereabouts of Mrs Creasy and at the same time locate God.
But it seems the neighbours are harbouring a secret, readers are taken back to when a plot was hatched at the British Legion 10 years previously, a plot that would alter them all in different ways.
I confess that I initially found the book quite confusing, there are a lot of characters all with stories to tell, sometimes referred to by their forenames and other times by their surnames, I had to restart the book to remember who was who and who was married to whom. I felt that this confusion could be cleared up with a simple map of the Avenue denoting who lived where as a preface (a little bit like referring to the family trees at the front of Philippa Gregory’s books). The other issue was the main crime in the story wasn’t resolved or explained. The book ends with a few question marks which is unfortunately frustrating.
Nevertheless, when all the characters are straight in your head, this is a great read and one I heartily recommend.
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Plug: buying from this link helps me to fund this site.
Read some of my other book reviews.