Lamb to the Slaughter (Dahl)

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Lamb to the Slaughter
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A pregnant woman killed her husband with a frozen leg of lamb after he revealed shocking news. She cleverly covered up her crime by cooking the lamb and feeding it to the investigating officers.

Mary Maloney, a pregnant woman, was waiting for her husband Patrick to come home from work. When he arrived, she greeted him warmly and made drinks for both of them.

Mary Maloney — pregnant housewife; devoted to her husband Patrick; initially gentle and loving, but becomes cunning and resourceful after killing Patrick.
Patrick Maloney — police detective; Mary's husband; tired and distant; decides to leave Mary, which leads to his murder.

They sat in the living room, and Mary enjoyed her husband's company, even though he was tired and didn't want to talk much.

Patrick then told Mary that he had something important to tell her. He revealed some shocking news that left Mary feeling dazed and horrified. Despite her distress, she decided to continue with her plan to make dinner and went to the basement to get a leg of lamb from the freezer. As she returned to the living room, Patrick told her that he was going out and didn't want her to make dinner for him.

"For God's sake," he said, hearing her, but not turning round. "Don't make supper for me. I'm going out."

In response, Mary swung the frozen leg of lamb and hit Patrick on the back of his head, killing him instantly.

At that point, Mary Maloney simply walked up behind him and without any pause she swung the big frozen leg of lamb high in the air and brought it down as hard as she could on the back of his head.

Mary quickly realized the gravity of her actions and began to think about the consequences, especially for her unborn child. She decided to cover up her crime by cooking the leg of lamb and creating an alibi. She went to the grocery store, acting as if nothing had happened, and bought some vegetables for dinner. When she returned home, she pretended to discover her husband's dead body and called the police.

The police arrived and began investigating the crime scene. They were kind to Mary, who was well-known to them as the wife of a detective. They searched the house for the murder weapon, believing that finding it would lead them to the killer. Meanwhile, Mary offered the officers some whiskey and suggested they eat the cooked leg of lamb, which they eventually agreed to do.

As the officers ate the lamb, they discussed the case and the possibility that the murder weapon was still on the premises. Unbeknownst to them, they were consuming the very weapon they were searching for. In the other room, Mary Maloney began to giggle, knowing that she had successfully covered up her crime.