A Sneak Peak into the next Delafield & Malloy Book

If you read Secrets & Spies, then you know that Ellen was impregnated by a German Intelligence officer in 1915. The novel I’m currently working on is the story of her child 24 years later! The novel doesn’t have a title yet, but I’m calling it “Ellen’s Girl” until I come up with something better. The picture below is of a townhouse in Gramercy Park, Manhattan. I imagine the home that Louisa had looked something like this.


Chapter 1



“Your son is here, Missus,” Mrs. Kimura said. Louisa glanced at the clock on the mantel. Ten in the morning! Why was he so early? 

“Which one?” she asked, patting her hair. She wasn’t ready to receive anyone yet. 

“The elder. He’s waiting in the parlor.” 

Of course, it was Roy. Stephen would still be in bed after a late night at the theater for his latest show. She threw on a dressing gown and made her way downstairs to the parlor.

Roy Calloway had been a serious child and turning into a young man had done nothing to alter his mien. While his younger brother followed his father’s footsteps into the world of Broadway, Roy had embarked on a career in finance and had worked his way up to vice president of some Wall Street Company even though he was not yet thirty years old. 

“Hello, Mother,” he said and dutifully kissed her on the cheek. 

“Hello, Dear,” she answered. “You’re up early while I’m still in my dressing gown.”

“How are you getting on?” he asked, lowering himself into the over-stuffed arm chair where his father used to sit. 

“Oh, as well as can be expected,” she said, sitting down on the settee by the fireplace. It was August and so no fire was necessary. Soon the sweltering heat would seep into the house. 

Louisa put on her brave smile. The truth was that she wasn’t getting on well at all. Her world, which had once been so rich and full, was now barren. She could barely drag herself out of bed in the mornings. “I do miss him though.” 

“As do we all,” Roy said. 

Mrs. Kimura came in, bearing a tray of coffee and breakfast rolls, and bent over to place it on the coffee table. She straightened up with a slight groan. 

“Thank you, Mrs. Kimura,” Louisa said. “Coffee, Roy?”

He nodded and she poured him a cup, dropping in two cubes of sugar. 

“They’re getting old,” Roy said when Mrs. Kimura left. 


“Mr. and Mrs. Kimura,” he said. “They must be close to seventy if not older. It’s difficult to tell with Orientals.” 

Louisa supposed he was right. The Kimuras had been with Forrest since before she’d married him. While other servants came and went, they’d stayed, steadfastly taking care of him and his family.

“They’re too old to look after this house any more,” he continued. “It is time to sell.” 

“What?!” Louisa exclaimed. “Sell this house?”

“Father’s illness was quite costly,” Roy explained. “You cannot continue to live like this. We cannot sustain it.” 

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that you must release the Kimuras, sell this house, and move into something smaller, an apartment, say, like the Murphy’s have on Central Park. You can hire a girl to come and clean and cook, but there’s really no need for live-ins anymore, is there?”

Louisa felt dizzy as the walls closed in around her. She loved this house. It was where she’d lived for twenty years with Forrest. An apartment? And no servants? 

“The Murphys also have a mansion on Long Island,” she said.

“Do you think you need a mansion, Mother?” he asked. 

She sighed deeply. No, she didn’t need a mansion. In fact, when she was younger she’d been quite poor, nearly destitute. Oh, she’d been doing all right when she finally married Forrest Calloway, thanks to the etiquette book she’d published, but marriage had restored her and her mother to their place in society. Was it all gone again?

“I thought perhaps you and Stephen…,” she said. 

“Stephen has nothing left to spare after he puts on a show, and I’m early in my career. I need to purchase a house of my own so I can find a wife and start a family. Of course, once I’m married you’re more than welcome to live with me and my bride.”

Trust Roy to make sure he had a house before even looking for a wife. He was nothing if not sensible. 

“Why not keep this house?” she asked.

“Grammercy Park is not as fashionable as it once was. You know that,” he said. 

She knew he was not trying to be harsh, not trying to break her heart, but what was left of the poor pulverized organ in her chest could barely muster a beat. 

“Whatever you think is best, dear,” she said. “I’m rather tired. Please excuse me.” 

She went back to bed and didn’t get out of it until dinner that night.  

By the time she remembered the dream the next morning, she was on her second cup of English Breakfast tea, and Mrs. Kimura was removing her plate of toast crumbs from the table. 

“I dreamt about Ellen last night,” Louisa told the housekeeper. 

“The red-haired girl?” Mrs. Kimura asked. “Maybe her ghost visit you?”

Mrs. Kimura had only met Ellen a few times, and it had been over twenty years ago, but Louisa kept a picture of her old friend on the dresser of her bedroom, so perhaps that kept her alive for both Louisa and Mrs. Kimura. In the picture, Ellen held the single issue of the magazine she had published before events in Ireland called her away. She never returned. 

“Maybe,” Louisa said. She was surrounded by ghosts these days. Her mother, Ellen, and now her darling Forrest. His illness had been grueling and his death both a relief and a stunning loss at the same time. Why did death have to be so horrible, she wondered. 

In the dream Ellen had been on a boat and next to her stood Hester French. Ellen seemed so happy in the dream, smiling and waving. She seemed happy but then Hester French transformed into her namsake, Hester Murphy, Ellen’s daughter, who was very much alive.

Louisa looked at the society section of the paper and there was a picture of Hester, modeling clothes at the World’s Fair. Hester’s hair was blond and her eyes blue, but her mouth with its full lips and perfect teeth — that was from Ellen. Too bad the young woman would never know the truth, but that was Katherine’s decision and Louisa would never interfere. She had promised that. 

  “Mother!” a voice called from the hallway. 

“In here,” she answered. 

Stephen walked in briskly. Tall and sandy-haired, Stephen Calloway was the very picture of a successful Broadway producer. 

“Two visits in two days,” Louisa said. “What tale of woe have you brought?”

“I beg your pardon?” Stephen said. 

“Your brother came by yesterday to tell me I have to sell the house and move into a tenement.”

“Not a tenement. An apartment. It’s not feasible for you to stay here in this rambling old house.” Obviously her sons had been conspiring! “And what about the Kimuras, shouldn’t they have some time to enjoy their golden years?”

She nodded. Of course, it wasn’t fair to expect them to take care of her forever. When she was younger, she’d always wondered why the upper classes were so helpless. Now she had become just like them. 

“We’ll sell the house and give them a nice settlement,” Stephen continued. “I know Mr. Kimura has scrimped and saved over the years, and I believe that Father made some investments on his behalf. They’ll be fine.” 

Of course, they would be fine. But would she? She’d dropped out of society during Forrest’s illness. Since his death, the elderly Japanese couple had become her main contact with humanity. 

“Mother, it’s been six months. You must join the living,” Stephen said. “I’ve a ticket for the show tonight. I insist you come.” 

“I can’t stay out that late,” she said. 

“Yes, you can. Barbara will pick you up at 7:30,” he said. 

“But I’m still in mourning,” she said. 

“Mourning? What century are you living in?” he asked. He clasped her hands. “Father would not want to see you like this.”

That much was true. Forrest would want her to be happy, but she couldn’t remember being happy without him. Then she thought of her dream of Ellen. Louisa had been happy back then when she and Ellen were friends. She’d been a writer, a society writer, but Ellen had urged her to write about more important things, and she had done that for a while. She’d had purpose in life. Now with no job and the boys grown and Forrest in his grave, what purpose did she have? Absolutely none. Going to plays and parties would not substitute for a life with purpose. 

“What if I got a job?” she said. “Maybe then I could keep the house?” 

“A job?” Stephen asked incredulously. “Mother, women of your class do not work.”

“I used to work.”

He gazed at her. He was not Forrest’s blood son, but in so many ways Stephen reminded her of him — his inherent kindness, his sense of adventure, and his effort, in this moment, to understand her feelings. 

“Well, I suppose you could find some sort of charity work,” he said and patted her hand. 

“I don’t want to do charity work,” she said, pulling her hands away. “I want to be a journalist again.” 

“For heaven’s sake, no,” Stephen said.

“Well, you can’t stop me,” she answered. 

“I don’t have to stop you. No one will hire you. Journalism is a young woman’s game,” he said. “You’ve been out of it too long. I’m sorry, Mother. I know this is difficult.” 

He hugged her and kissed her cheek and made her promise to come to his play. She agreed, but as soon as he left she went upstairs and flung open her wardrobe. She had more energy than she’d had in months. She’d show him and Roy that she could take care of herself. She’d done it before and she could do it again. 

She stared at the dresses hanging in the wardrobe. What did professional women wear these days? She rifled through evening gowns, cocktail dresses, and afternoon luncheon outfits. None of these would do. She needed a suit — something tailored in a lighter, summer fabric. 

She would have to buy something. Goodness! When was the last time she’d been shopping? 



  1. katya taylor on November 6, 2023 at 5:52 pm

    oh wow, time has flown! and Louisa wants to get back into the world of the living, to pick up her pen again. …. it’s so weird to know that she did marry forrest and they had kids, and ellen apparently is dead but her daughter Heather is very much alive. wheee… on into the present moment. you’ve already written the first chapter! you amaze me


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