In Roald Dahl's Tales Of The Unexpected, What Is The Story 'Lamb To The Slaughter' About?


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Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Mary Melloney, a pregnant young woman in 20th century England, waits for her husband Patrick to return home from his job as a detective for the local police. When he returns, Mary notices that he is strangely aloof and assumes that he has had trouble at work. After blatantly ignoring her, Patrick finally reveals (to Mary; the information is kept from the reader, although it is insinuated that he wants to leave her) what it is that is making him act strangely.
In shock at the news, and seemingly in a trance, Mary fetches a large leg of lamb from the deep-freeze in the cellar to cook for their dinner, apparently trying to restore to sense of normality. Then Patrick angrily tells Mary not to make him any dinner, as he is going out. She then strikes Patrick in the back of the head with the frozen lamb leg and killing him. After pacing the room, Mary realizes that she must hide her crime, since she is aware of the punishment she would face and she is scared for her baby and is not sure whether it would live. She prepares the leg of lamb and places it in the oven. Then, after practicing a cheerful routine to show the world, she heads out to the store to buy some vegetables for her roast from the Grocer. This is so she can form an alibi for the crime. Upon returning, she enters the room where she killed her husband and calls the police.
When the police arrive, they question Mary and survey the scene. The police, lacking any reason to be suspicious of Mary because Mr. Melloney was actually a policeman too, come to the conclusion that Mary's husband was killed with a large blunt object, likely made of metal. They then search the house and surrounding area for the murderer's weapon. After a fruitless search, the police realize that no one has turned off the oven. Mary offers all the policemen the cooked leg, which the policemen kindly accept. When the lamb is nearly finished, the police facetiously discuss the possibility of the murder weapon's location. One officer says "Its probably right under our very noses". Mary begins to giggle, knowing that the police have just eaten the evidence and because she has outsmarted the police and got away with it.
Louise Gorman Profile
Louise Gorman answered
'Lamb to the Slaughter' tells the story of Mary Maloney, a woman who is pregnant. The story opens with Mary waiting for her husband to return home from work. When he arrives, she offers to get him drinks and make him something to eat. After he has had a drink, he tells her to sit down. In the space of five minutes, he breaks the news to her that he is leaving her. It is not actually stated in the story as to why he is leaving her, though most people would probably assume that he has been having an affair.

Mary is shocked at the news and goes to fetch some food from the freezer. She discovers a frozen leg of lamb and decides to cook it for supper. When she arrives back in the room, she hits her husband over the head with the leg of lamb, obviously as a result of the news he's just told her. She kills him, and after releasing this, decides to go out and get herself an alibi. She goes to the grocer's and purchases some food. When she arrives home, she calls the police, who arrive and question the grocer that she visited, who states that she couldn't possibly have killed her husband.

After much investigation, Mary tells the policemen that they are welcome to help themselves to the leg of lamb that is cooking in the oven. The policemen eat the lamb, therefore getting rid of the only evidence.

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