The First Two Pages: “The Chinese Dog Mystery” by James Lincoln Warren

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.

Many years back, I was so impressed by one of James Lincoln Warren’s stories in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine that I tracked down his email and sent him a fan letter, to which he very graciously responded. In the years since, it’s been a great privilege of mine not only to enjoy more of Jim’s writing but also to get to know him as a person too—and not just via email but actually in person (and in all his sartorial splendor!) as well, with conversations and get-togethers with him and his wife Margaret at Bouchercon and Malice Domestic.

Jim was one of the founders of Criminal Brief, a wonderful group blog that celebrated the mystery short story (and that has since morphed into SleuthSayers, where I’m proud to now be part of the rotation myself), and his short stories and novellas have time and again shown him to be a master of the form—and a master in talking about the form. Here, he turns his analytical skills on his own work, discussing his story for the latest issue of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, “The Chinese Dog Mystery.”

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.

Warren Chinese Dog