Lamb to the Slaughter – Summary

Lamb to the Slaughter is a short story by Roald Dahl.

Summary

As the story begins, we meet a happy, contented, Mary Maloney. She is waiting for her husband to return from work. He arrives at the usual time but is withdrawn. After a few stiff drinks, he tells Mary he wishes to divorce her. This news leaves her stunned.

Still in astate of shock, she realizes they will not be going out for dinner so she gets up to go to the pantry and get something to cook. The first thing she lays her hands on is a leg of lamb, hard and frozen. Her husband is looking out of the window with his back towards her. As she walks past him on the way to the kitchen from the pantry, her anger causes her impulsively to hit him on the back of his head with the frozen leg of lamb. It hits him so hard that within a few seconds, he drops down dead. Realizing she has committed a murder, she plans to go out. She goes to the local vegetable shop. She buys a few things from the greengrocer Sam and returns home. She pretends to discover her dead husband and calls the police, who arrive in a very short time.

The policemen arrive. They examine the scene of the crime. They do not find the weapon of offence. They ask Mary about her movements in the last couple of hours. When she tells them about her visit to the greengrocer, they go and ask him several questions about her behaviour.

Back in the Maloney household, they resume their search for a heavy weapon. As it gets late, Mary asks them to have supper. She offers them whatever is ready in her kitchen and that is the leg of lamb. They hungrily consume it and thus destroy the weapon of offence.

Mary Maloney has the last laugh.

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