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Lamb to Slaughter and other short stories by Roald Dahl

When I first discovered Roald Dahl, it was for his children’s stories. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG, James and the Giant Peach and so many amazing books, but my personal favorite was The Twits. His children’s books were refreshing because he created a world of where adult villains hate and mistreat children, and there is at least one “good” adult to counteract the villain(s). Unlike most books for children at the time, Roald Dahl’s books contained a lot of black humour and grotesque scenarios, including gruesome violence.

And when I chanced upon his short stories for adults, I had nightmares and sleepless nights. Roald Dahl does not waste a single word and the stories are gripping, shocking and yet proceed in such a rational manner that the reader’s suspension of disbelief is never broken. No amount of predicting the end of the story prepares one for the twist in the tale. Roald Dahl can stand you on your head, twist you in knots, tie up your hands and make you gasp for more.

It is hard to find favorites from Roald Dahl’s short stories, but the ones that kept me sleepless at night were ‘Lamb to Slaughter’, ‘Skin’ and ‘Pig’.

Definitely a must read!

Lamb to Slaughter

Here (Spoiler Alert) a dutiful wife, Mary Maloney, finally snaps when she learns her boorish policeman husband plans to leave her, with only three months to go until the birth of their first child. Mary snaps in the middle of cooking tea and batters her husband to death with a frozen leg of lamb. When her husband’s colleagues turn up to investigate the murder, Mary feigns terrible grief whilst serving up a delicious roast for the officers, ensuring the evidence disappears beneath their noses.


A tattooist, Drioli takes in a young painter and during a night of drunken celebration allows the painter to tattoo his back. Many years later Drioli stumbles upon an exhibition of his old friend’s work. Unfortunately, the painter has long since died, meaning his work, and the tattoo on Drioli’s back, is now priceless. When a rich hotel owner offers to pay for Drioli to live a life of luxury, on the condition that he will allow people to look at the priceless work on his back, what could go wrong?


Young Lexington stays in the Blue Ridge Mountains where his eccentric old Aunt Glosspan schools him herself and raises him to be a strict vegetarian. He has a talent for cooking and by the time he is 17, he has invented over 9000 different dishes. When Aunt Glosspan dies, he comes to New York to meet her lawyer and then goes to eat in a restaurant and tastes pork for the first time in his life. The chef tells him though, that he can’t be sure it was pig’s meat. “There’s just a chance,” he says, “that it might have been a piece of human stuff.” Wanting to see how a pig is butchered, Lexington takes off for the packing-house in the Bronx – and starts his journey into the other world.


About Preeti Singh

I am a bookaholic. I love stories, storytelling. I enjoy helping people structure their storytelling, and I love to share the stories I discover.

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This entry was posted on November 2, 2014 by in Fiction, short stories and tagged , , , , .
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