The Landlady Summary by Roald Dahl

An Eerie Tale

The story is an eerie tale of a strange lady who happens to run a small hotel in Bath, England. It begins with the introduction of Billy, a young protagonist who travels to Bath to look for affordable accommodation for his boss Mr Greenslade.

When he alights from the train, he is advised to go to find a nice pub and lodging. Billy also loves to drink and make conversation with new people and so he decides to have a look.

Along his route, he finds the poor condition in which much of the buildings are and compares it to the riches of London. But all of a sudden he is captivated a quaint little inn. The place has a warm feeling and nice décor.

An Old Lady

He wants to go find a pub but is transfixed by the inn’s appeal. Consequently, he knocks on its door and is welcomes by an old and weary lady. The lady showers him with kindness and offers a price that is impossible to decline. So, Billy enters the place and is given a room on one of the upper floors.

Billy settles into the room when the lady asks him to sign the entry log and join her for tea downstairs. Billy finds her a little queer as she keeps commenting on his age and handsomeness. However, he jots that down to her being old and senile.


When Billy looks at the log, he sees only two previous entries b the name of Mr Mulholland and Mr Temple. Both the names strike some memory but Billy can’t recall them exactly. He thinks he might have heard about them over the news. But both the entries are at least 2-3 years old.

When Billy enquires about them, the old lady evades the question but finally accepts that they are still residing on the fourth floor. This spooks Billy and he starts to piece the mystery together. The name sounded familiar because Mulholland was a boy who went missing a couple of years ago.

Billy is New Victim

Billy also finds the taste of the tea a bit weird and realizes that he has been drugged. When he asks the lady about the time since her last visit, she smiles at him. After a pause, she reveals that Billy was her first visitor in 2 years.

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