They say that life begins at 40—or perhaps it’s 50? Anyway, I don’t care. For me, life begins at 69! Don’t get me wrong, I adored my Frank (bless his cotton socks) and considering his profession working for HM Customs & Excise, he had a good sense of humor despite only knowing one joke about a goat and a banana. Every time he told it, he made me laugh. I still miss him.
Being married for fifty years is quite an accomplishment in this day and age. Take my poor daughter Katherine. She’ll be forty on her next birthday and she’s no closer to walking up the aisle or having a family—not that I’m pressuring her to do any of those things, you understand. And frankly, I’m glad she didn’t end up with David. He was so stuffy. Sometimes I can’t help wondering if I might have had something to do with her disastrous choices in men.
It’s true—I wasn’t always emotionally available (as they say in America) as a mother. I did spend a lot of time writing my romance novels and pretending I had migraines, but would either Frank or Katherine have supported my dreams if they’d known what I was really up to? Of course not! But it’s too late for all that sort of thing now. What’s past is past. It’s time to seize the day! Live life to the fullest—and that’s exactly what I’m doing.
Despite what Katherine says, buying that old carriage house on the grounds of the magnificent Honeychurch Hall estate in Devon was the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s filled with such happy memories of my childhood—life on the road, sleeping under the stars, working the sideshows for the traveling boxing emporium—all the things I gave up when I fell in love with Frank. I’m not saying I regret anything. I don’t—but as you get older, priorities change. It’s time for ME!
Of course, there are drawbacks to living in such close quarters to the gentry. They’re nice enough—although his lordship walks around as if England still has an Empire and his wife, Lavinia, is such a cold fish, it’s no wonder that he has a wandering eye. Then there’s the dowager countess, Lady Edith Honeychurch. I would still do anything for her. She was always good to me back in the day despite the tragedy. But I don’t want to talk about that. As I say, there’s no point in looking back.
Speaking of the past, Honeychurch Hall has been around for six hundred years. Even King Charles I paid a visit. So when I found out that the government planned to build a high-speed railway line right through the estate as well as the neighboring village of Little Dipperton, I knew they would have to be stopped. The English countryside must be preserved! Our heritage must be saved!
Fortunately, we’ll soon have some help from someone who is rather good at organizing protests and riots and that kind of thing. I haven’t told Katherine about our visitor yet because she can be such a killjoy. But I’m sure once she meets him she’ll love him just as much as me. After all, family is family.
Gosh, it’s nearly six and that means it’s gin and tonic time. I must pour myself a glass. Until next time . . . bottoms up!
You can read more about Iris in Deadly Desire at Honeychurch Hall, the second book in the “Honeychurch Hall” mystery series, published by Minotaur. The first book in the series is Murder at Honeychurch Hall.
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About the author
British born, Hannah originally moved to Los Angeles to pursue screenwriting. She has been an obituary reporter, antique dealer, private jet flight attendant and Hollywood story analyst. Now living in Portland, Oregon, Hannah continues to teach mystery writing at UCLA Extension and still works for a west coast advertising agency. Hannah writes the Honeychurch Hall Mysteries (Minotaur) and the Vicky Hill Mysteries (Constable Crime) both set in the wilds of the English countryside.