Mr Monk & the Lamb to the Slaughter

I wrote this because I was a big fan of the early episodes of the show Monk and I loved the Raoul Dahl short story Lamb to the Slaughter. And if I can write Dickens fan fiction, I can write Monk fan fiction. Standard yada about how I don’t own any of the characters and I hope you enjoy.

“Did you know this guy?” Sharona asked hurrying up the front steps. The row house had a neat patch of garden beside the door bursting with brilliant snapdragons and daylilies. Through the open bay window she could see Stottlemeyer, Disher and another officer examining the living room floor.

Monk twitched. “Not well.”

“So was he the kind of guy who would be murdered in his own living room?” Sharona peered through the open door. The narrow hall and bright living room were just as neat as the garden with the exception of the chalked impression of a body in the floor. She paused waiting for Monk’s answer.

Monk stopped beside her, scanning the room. He leaned over and sniffed a coat hanging by the door. “Ah…yeah.” He walked inside.

“Monk!” Captain Stottlemeyer bellowed. He waved them closer to the chalked impression on the floor in front of an easy chair facing the television. Disher peered at them, as if he hoped to read the name of the killer on Monk’s face. “Monk, I don’t have to tell you Patrick Maloney was a friend of mine,” Stottlemeyer told them.

“Another one?” Sharona asked.

Stottlemeyer ignored her.

Monk looked at the outline on the floor and backed up a step to examine the position of the chair. He swept his hands to where the victim’s head would have been, adjusted the angle lower and tried again. Then lower still.

“He was murdered by a blunt instrument blow to the head.” Disher flipped open his notebook. “His wife said he arrived home about five. Normally they go out for dinner on Thursdays, but she said he didn’t want to go tonight so she put some lamb in the oven and went to the grocery store for some vegetables. We interviewed the store manager and he said he spoke to her about six-“

“We think it was someone who knew him,” Stottlemeyer interrupted. “Probably somebody he busted getting back at him.”

“But there’s no sign of forcible entry.” Monk rubbed the table next to the chair with the tip of his finger. “What are these white marks?” he muttered.

“He could have let him in.”

“If he arrested him? Why would he let in a guy he’d arrested?” He started wiping the marks off the table. Sharona grabbed for his arm hissing.

“Monk!” Stottlemeyer shouted. “Look, we have to find this guy. Poor Mary is just beside herself. She’s six months pregnant and while she went out to get some food somebody came in here and clubbed her husband to death.”

“Oh poor woman.” Sharona put her hand on her throat. “Where is she?”

“In the kitchen.”

Sharona darted through the dining room to the kitchen. Monk followed her and Stottlemeyer and Disher followed him.

Mary Maloney sat at the dark wooden table, staring forward with a vague smile on her face. She was a small woman with large dark eyes and a beautiful delicacy lent by her pregnancy. On the table in front of her sat two potatoes, a can of peas and a white bakery box. She looked up at them as they came into the room. “He liked canned peas,” she said. “Couldn’t stand fresh or frozen. Isn’t that funny?”

“I’m so sorry for your loss,” Monk said. “My wife was killed.”

“Mrs. Maloney,” Sharona crouched in front of the grieving woman. “Are you alright here? Are you sure you don’t want to lay down?”

“No, I’d rather be here. Where people are.” She smiled again, weakly.

“Do I smell something?” Monk asked.

“Oh! The lamb.” Mary made as if to stand, but Sharona reacted first.

“I’ll get it.” Sharona switched off the oven and opened the door. Using the chicken shaped hot pads hanging beside the stove, she pulled out a large roasting pan and brought it to the table. “It looks wonderful.”

“You cooked a whole leg of lamb for the two of you?” Monk asked.

“Monk,” Sharona hissed.

“But a whole leg of lamb?” Monk asked again.

Sharona paused long enough to glare at him before turning back to Mary. “Just perfectly done too. You must be a great cook.”

Mary turned her large tearful eyes to ward the captain. “Captain Stottlemeyer.”

“Yes.”

“Would you do me a small favor – you and the others?”

Stottlemeyer glanced at Sharona. “We can try Mrs. Maloney.”

“Well,” she said. “Here you all are, and good friends of dear Patrick’s too, helping to catch the man who killed him. You must be terribly hungry by now because it’s long past your supper time, and I know Patrick would never forgive me, God bless his soul, if I allowed you to remain in his house without offering you decent hospitality. Why don’t you eat up that lamb? It’ll be cooked just right by now.”

“Oh, we couldn’t.” Stottlemeyer shifted.

Disher stared at the back of his head with mute pleading as two uniformed officers walked in, drawn by the scent of food.

“Please,” she begged. “Please eat it. Personally I couldn’t touch a thing, certainly not what’s been in the house when he was here. But it’s all right for you. It’d be a favor to me if you’d eat it up. Then you can go on with your work again afterwards.”

Sharona reached in the drawer beside the oven and pulled out a carving knife and fork. One of the officers located a loaf of bread. The other took a bottle of mustard out of the refrigerator.

“If it’s just done now, it must have been frozen when you put it the oven. It’s nearly nine o’clock,” Monk said, frowning. “It wouldn’t have cooked in time for dinner. Why didn’t you just get a cooked chicken at the grocery store or order a pizza?”

“Monk,” Sharona snapped. She handed a sandwich to Stottlemeyer before turning to fix another.

“Because Patrick didn’t like pizza.” Mrs. Maloney’s voice hardened.

“But there must have been something you could have made that would have been ready before –“ Monk looked at the kitchen clock. “Before nine o’clock.”

“Monk, leave her alone.” Sharona thrust a sandwich at him.

Monk looked at it fearfully. When he didn’t take the sandwich, Sharona took a bite out of it herself. “Wait!” Monk burst out. “You’re eating the murder weapon.”

Stottlemeyer choked on the food in his mouth.

“Adrian!” Sharona scolded.

“Here’s what happened.” Monk put the tips of his fingers together. “You found out he was having an affair. You were furious so you hit him on the back of the head with the frozen leg of lamb. A frozen leg of lamb that was as hard as a sledge hammer. Then you put it in the oven and went to the grocery store making sure you talked to the manager so you would have an alibi. And now you want us to eat the murder weapon.”

Mary turned her pleading eyes to Stottlemeyer who looked like he’d just swallowed a whole lemon. “I had to, don’t you see? He was going to leave me,” Mary said. “He said he’d met another woman and he loved her more. He said she was more exciting. He promised we’d be taken care of, but I just couldn’t let him go like that. He really did love me. He was just confused. And he would have gone to hell if he’d divorced me and married that other woman. I had to protect him and I had to protect our child. The sins of the father are visited on the heads of the children unto the seventh generation You understand, surely.”

***

Sharona walked beside Monk to where she’d parked the car. She pressed her hand to her stomach. That bite of murder weapon on wheat she’d managed to swallow was making her a little queasy. “How did you know he was having an affair?”

“I smelled perfume on his jacket. It wasn’t anywhere else in the house.”

“From that you deduced he was having an affair?”

“From that I deduced he was having another affair. When he married Mary two years ago no one could believe he would settle down. He got around.”

“Oh.” Sharona looked at the sidewalk. “So how did you know it was the lamb?”

“She cooked a whole leg of lamb for two people when she knew it wasn’t going to be ready until nine o’clock. And there were water spots where the ice crystals sprayed when she hit him. I saw the dried spots on the table.”

“How did you notice that?”

“That house is cleaner than mine,” Monk shurgged.

Sharona nodded. “What do you think will happen to her?”

“Temporary insanity. Stottlemeyer will make sure they go easy on her. So will Mary’s brother. He’s a judge.”

Sharona nodded. Monk was a savant, but she almost wished he hadn’t solved this one. If anybody deserved to get away with murder it was that woman. Not only was her cause just, but her plan was brilliant. Too bad she had to commit her crime when Monk was on call.

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