Friday, July 15, 2011

The English Ivy Inn

By Katie Bonner

(From Lorraine Bartlett's Victoria Square Mysteries)

"Last night I dreamt I went to Mandalay . . . ."

Actually, I didn't . . . I dreamt I owned the English Ivy Inn . . . also known as The old Webster Mansion on the eastern fringe of Victoria Square, the little business district in McKinlay Mill, New York.

If my husband hadn't invested all our savings in Artisans Alley, we'd--or rather I'd--have owned the place by now. Or at least I'd like to think so.

I have wanted that house for so long, I know exactly how I want it.  Exactly the color palette for that once gorgeous painted lady.  Exactly every stick of furniture to fill the rooms.  The exact lighting fixtures (I've even got a self-storage unit full of such things--collected over the years from auctions, estate sales, and architectural salvage houses.)

I have decorated every room in that house so many times.  I've collected at wallpaper samples, paint samples, flooring samples.  I've got bedding, and linens, and china, silverware and glassware.

I've made sample menus for every season.  Besides offering my guests breakfast, I'd hoped to provide afternoon tea--and cater and host weddings in the gazebo out back in my lovely cottage garden. (Well, I'd have to have the gazebo built first, and then I'd have to plant the garden--but I've made plans for all of that, too.)

I've made lists of questions to ask potential employees.  I'd have to have help cleaning the place--six bedrooms and bathrooms, plus the parlors, kitchen and dining room.

Of course, my husband was supposed to be the host while I did all the background work.  After he died I had to change the dream.  Well, I had to change my dream even before he died.

And now that I've been managing Artisans Alley for a few months I've had to amend my dream yet again.  I'm still determined to own the Webster Mansion.  The thought of it keeps me going on the worst days when I'm threatened by bill collectors, shut off notices from the utilities, and vendors who act like two-year-olds.

But I'm determined to own that lovely old home one day.

Nothing is going to stop me. Nothing.

Unless I find another dead body somewhere . . .  or someone buys it before I can . . . .

Lorraine Bartlett writes the Victoria Square Mysteries.  The first in the series, A Crafty Killing, is now available.  The next book, The Walled Flower, will be available in February 2012.

Lorraine also writes the New York Times bestselling and Agatha-nominated Booktown Mysteries as Lorna Barrett, and the Jeff Resnick Mysteries as L.L. Bartlett.

In September, Lorraine will releasing a special Victoria Square supplement -- which she'll announce on her blog, Dazed and Confused.


  1. Love this series (and the others, too). Katie - never stop dreaming. You'll own Webster Mansion some day. (Let's just hope it doesn't come with any dead bodies.)

    Beverly aka Booklady

  2. Good luck Katie! I suspect you're going to need it . . .

  3. I know that dream... the big house, the garden, the lovely furniture... sigh. I get it.

  4. Sounds like a wonderful dream, Katie. And I think you're gutsy enough to make it come true...someday. Good luck and I'll stay tuned for the happy day.

  5. Enjoyed A Crafty Killing and look forward to the sequel w/ perhaps success in getting the house of your dreams.

  6. My money's on you, Katie! I bet you'll have that house someday. But in the meantime, I love reading about Artisan's Alley. I hope you can have it all. You deserve the best.

  7. What a lovely house. I hope you don't find any more dead bodies and you can make your dream a reality, Katie! I love every book Lorraine, Lorna or LL writes!

  8. Kate,

    With your determination, I can definitely see you owning and operating your inn.

  9. Im sure you will own a Inn soon! =)