IN COLD BLOOD , Adapted from Roald Dahl’s “Lambto the Slaughter”, in Tales of the Unexpected, 1948.
1 After hitting her husband on the back of his head with a frozen leg of lamb – because he was going to leave
her for another woman – MrsMaloney puts the meat in the oven(1), and then goes out to the grocer’s to
buy some vegetables and dessert. Then she comes back home and tries to “do everything right and
5 A few minuteslater she got up and went to the phone. She knew the number of the police station, and when
the man at the other end answered, she cried to him, : “Quick ! Come quick ! Patrick’s dead !”
- “Who’sspeaking ?”
- “Mrs Maloney. Mrs Patrick Maloney.”
- “You mean Patrick Maloney’s dead ?”
10 - “I think so,” she sobbed (2). “He’s lying on the floor and I think he’s dead.”
- “Be right over,” theman said.
The car came very quickly, and when she opened the front door, two policemen walked in. She knew them
both – she knew nearly all the men at the precinct (3) – and she fell right into JackNoonan’s arms,
weeping(4) hysterically. He put her gently into a chair, then went over to join the other ones, who was
15 called O’Malley, kneeling (5) by the body.
- “Is he dead ?” she cried.
-“I’m afraid he is. What happened ?”
Briefly she told her story about going out to the grocer and coming back to find him on the floor. While she
was talking, crying and talking, Noonan discovereda small patch of congealed blood on the dead man’s
20 head. He showed it to O’Malley who got up and hurried to the phone.
Soon, other men began to come into the house. First a doctor, then twodetectives, one of whom she knew by name. […]
She told her story again, this time right from the beginning, when Patrick had come in, and she was sewing
(6), and he was tired, so tired he hadn’t...