1ere The origins of British and American Detective fiction



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LAMB TO THE SLAUGHTER.

1ere


The origins of British and American Detective fiction
Fill in the gaps with the words bellow :
inquest / private / fiction / murder / manor / tough / novel / closed / detective / enigma / depicted

/ city / popular / suspects.



The detective ……………………….. was born in the mid 19th century. In the 1920s, the detective story

became very ………………………... It followed very definite rules :

The scene was set in a ……………………….. space (a train, a ……………………….. etc).

There was :

- a ………………………..

- a restricted number of ………………………..

- a ……………………….. leading the ………………………..
- the final unveiling of ………………………..
In the US, the “Hard- boiled” ……………………….. appeared in the mid 20s. It ………………………..

the reality of American ……………………….. life (crime, violence, corruption, vice).
A new type of detective was born : the ……………………….. – eye (private detective) who is
……………………….., unscrupulous and sometimes violent.


The origins of British and American Detective fiction
Fill in the gaps with the words bellow :
inquest / private / fiction / murder / manor / tough / novel / closed / detective / enigma / depicted

/ city / popular / suspects.



The detective ……………………….. was born in the mid 19th century. In the 1920s, the detective story

became very ………………………... It followed very definite rules :

The scene was set in a ……………………….. space (a train, a ……………………….. etc).

There was :

- a ………………………..

- a restricted number of ………………………..

- a ……………………….. leading the ………………………..
- the final unveiling of ………………………..
In the US, the “Hard- boiled” ……………………….. appeared in the mid 20s. It ………………………..

the reality of American ……………………….. life (crime, violence, corruption, vice).
A new type of detective was born : the ……………………….. – eye (private detective) who is
……………………….., unscrupulous and sometimes violent.


In Cold blood
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 - Mrs. Maloney puts the meat in the oven and then goes out to the

grocer’s to buy some vegetables and desert. Then she comes back home and tries to “do everything

right and natural.”

A few minutes later 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’s speaking?”

“Mrs. Maloney. Mrs. Patrick Maloney.”

“You mean Patrick Maloney’s dead?”

“I think so,” she sobbed. “He’s lying on the floor and I think he’s dead.”

“Be right over,” the man 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 that precinct-and she fell right into Jack Noonan’s

arms, weeping hysterically. He put her gently into a chair, then went over to join the other one, who

was called O’Malley, kneeling 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 discovered a small patch of congealed blood on

the dead man’s head. He showed it to O’Malley who got up at once and hurried to the phone.

Soon, other men began to come into the house. First a doctor, then two detectives, one of whom

she knew by name. Later, a police photographer arrived and took pictures, and a man who knew

about fingerprints. There was a great deal of whispering and muttering beside the corpse, and the

detectives kept asking her a lot of questions. But they always treated her kindly. She told her story

again, this time right from the beginning, when Patrick had come in, and she was sewing, and he

was tired, so tired he hadn’t wanted to go out for supper. She told how she’d put the meat in the

oven -”it’s there now, cooking”- and how she’d slipped out to the grocer for vegetables, and come

back to find him lying on the floor.



Some time later, one of the detectives comes back from the grocer’s with a page of notes while the

men go on looking for the weapon until they finally suggest they have the leg of lamb for supper.

Adapted from Road Dahl’s “Lamb to the Slaughter”, in Tales of the Unexpected, 1948


Corrigé du texte lacunaire :



The detective novel was born in the mid 19th century. In the 1920s, the detective story became very

popular It followed very definite rules :

The scene was set in a closed space (a train, a manor etc).

There was :

- a murder

- a restricted number of suspects.

- a detective leading the inquest.

- the final unveiling of enigma.

In the US, the “Hard- boiled” fiction appeared in the mid 20s. It depicted the reality of American city

life (crime, violence, corruption, vice).

A new type of detective was born : the private – eye (private detective) who is tough, unscrupulous


  1. and sometimes violent



  1. Detailed comprehension:


1 - What type of document is it?

2 - What do you know about the author?

3 - What does’it’refer to in “he showed it to O’Malley”?

4 - Which story is Mrs. Maloney talking about?

5 - Does she repeat the story in the text? Where?

6 - What kind of questions do you think the inspectors asked to Mrs. Maloney? Write

them down.

7 - Do you think that Mrs. Maloney is sincere? Why? Justify your answer by quoting

from the text.

  1. Propositions True or false? Justify your answer. Quote from the text

1 - Patrick Maloney committed suicide.


YES NO ________________________________________________

2 - Mrs Maloney is very calm.


YES NO ________________________________________________
3 - Mrs Maloney knew one of the policemen.
YES NO ________________________________________________
4 - Patrick Maloney was having dinner just before he died.
YES NO ________________________________________________
5 - Mrs Maloney says she was not at home when her husband died.
YES NO ________________________________________________
6 - The inspectors have found the weapon.
YES NO ________________________________________________
7 - The detectives will never be able to find the weapon.
YES NO ________________________________________________
8 - Mrs Maloney is organising a little party for the death of her husband!
YES NO ________________________________________________


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