Posts filed under ‘Suspense’
Each of the 28 short stories within The Roald Dahl Omnibus begins in an expected way, but these expectations are subverted by the end with surprising twists. This technique is Dahl’s signature trademark, and can be seen, for example, in “Lamb to the Slaughter” (a story most Hwa Chong students should be familiar with), which involves Mary Maloney’s murder of her husband, and the suspenseful police investigation that threatens to expose her. Just as it seems that she has been caught, it is revealed that the frozen leg of lamb she used to kill her husband (by bashing him over the head) has finished cooking, and she invites the policemen to enjoy eating it, and thereby destroy the murder weapon through their act of consumption.
Classic stories and harder-to-find tales can be found within this omnibus aimed at older readers. Each story is an examination into the human condition, and their collective presence reveals once again a master of the short story form at the height of his skill.
House Rules tells the story of Jacob, an eighteen-year-old diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, being convicted for a crime he did not commit. The crime: the murder of his social skills counselor.
It is unlucky that Jacob has Asperger’s, since all the hallmark behaviours of Asperger’s – not looking someone in the eye, odd movements and inappropriate actions – seem to automatically indicate guilt to the police.
Jacob’s mother also has to deal with a lot of unwanted stress during this difficult period of her son’s arrest: a budding romance with Jacob’s attorney, a resentful son who always comes second to Jacob, and the unexpected arrival of her former husband, Jacob’s father. Above all else, she must ask herself the hardest question of all: is her son truly capable of murder?
A captivating novel from start to end, the book takes the reader through the many twists and turns during Jacob’s trial. With the introduction of many different characters who all play an important part in the trial in one way or another, the novel keeps one in suspense until the very last word.