The First Two Pages: “China Mary” by Marilyn Todd

In April 2015, B.K. Stevens debuted the blog series “The First Two Pages,” hosting craft essays by short story writers and novelists analyzing the openings of their own work. The series continued until just after her death in August 2017, and the full archive of those essays can be found at Bonnie’s website. In November 2017, the blog series relocated to my website, and the archive of this second stage of the series can be found here.

Marilyn Todd‘s historical mysteries include the Claudia series set in Ancient Rome and the Iliona series set in Ancient Greece, but she’s also a prolific writer of short stories that range even more widely through history and geography both and right up to the present day. Much of her short fiction has been published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, and the new issue of EQMM (January/February 2018) features her story “Killing Kevin.” For her “First Two Pages” essay here, Marilyn looks back at another EQMM favorite: “China Mary” from the magazine’s May/June 2017 issue—this one taking readers to the Old West.

Please use the arrows and controls at the bottom of the embedded PDF to navigate through the essay. You can also download the essay here to read off-line.

Todd China Mary