An utter delight. Perceptive, funny, dark, moving. And so beautifully written. I loved it
– Sarah Winman
It’s the small decisions, the ones that slip themselves into your day unnoticed, the ones that wrap their weight in insignificance.
These are the decisions that will bury you.
It’s Monday, the blistering summer of 1976 continues, and Mrs Creasy from Number 8 has gone missing.
The neighbours seem keen to blame her disappearance on the heat, but 10-year-old Grace and her best friend Tilly aren’t convinced. Inspired by the local vicar, the girls decide to investigate, believing that if they can find God – who keeps everyone safe – they might also find Mrs Creasy and bring her home.
So while the temperature rockets and the tarmac melts, Grace and Tilly go door-to-door in search of clues. But instead of finding their missing neighbour, the girls uncover a series of small mysteries behind the avenue’s closed doors. As they try to make sense of what they’ve seen and heard, a wider history of deception and long-buried secrets begins to emerge.
What the girls don’t know is that nine years ago a baby also went missing from the avenue; nor do they realise that the lies used to conceal the truth of that fateful day are the same ones Mrs Creasy was beginning to peel back – just before she disappeared.
Our young protagonists, Grace and Tilly, make for a loveable and highly entertaining duo, and their quirky relationship is wonderfully balanced with the sense of deepening mystery as the plot unfolds. At once coming-of-age novel and whodunnit story, THE TROUBLE WITH GOATS AND SHEEP radiates an unmistakable charm and warmth, and calls to mind great storytellers such as Maria Semple, Sarah Winman and Emma Healey.
Joanna Cannon graduated from Leicester Medical School and worked as a hospital doctor, before specialising in psychiatry. She was born and raised in the Peak District, where she continues to live with her family and her dog. THE TROUBLE WITH GOATS AND SHEEP is her first novel.