The Landlady (short story)

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"The Landlady"
AuthorRoald Dahl
Published inThe New Yorker
Publication date28 November 1959

"The Landlady" is a short horror story by Roald Dahl. It initially appeared in The New Yorker, as did other short stories that would later be reprinted in the 1960 anthology, Kiss Kiss.[1]

Plot introduction[edit]

17-year-old Billy Weaver travels from London to Bath, by himself, on a work matter when he stops for the night at a quaint bed-and-breakfast. The landlady is a kind older woman who Billy comes to suspect is a little senile, as she offers him tea and prattles on in a strange, slightly confused manner. As the night draws on, the landlady's kindness and the seeming lack of other people in the house is shown to be hiding a terrible secret.


In the introduction to Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories, a collection of 14 stories by other writers that he chose as the genre's best, Dahl states that he's always wanted to write a ghost story but never quite been able to. The closest he came was with "The Landlady", but after reading it through he decided that he hadn't "brought it off", so changed the ending to make the twist non-supernatural.[2]


"The Landlady" won "Best Short Story Mystery" at the 1960 Edgar Awards. This was the second time Dahl was honoured, the first having been for his collection of short stories, Someone Like You (Best Short Story, 1954).[3]


  1. ^ All works by Roald Dahl. The New Yorker. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  2. ^ "Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories by Dahl, Roald (2012) Paperback". Retrieved 21 September 2018 – via Amazon.
  3. ^ "Edgars Database." Retrieved 1 October 2014.