The First Two Pages: “The Black Drop of Venus” by Mark Thielman

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.

I’m pleased today to host Mark Thielman, discussing his second Black Orchid Award-winning novella, “The Black Drop of Venus,” the cover story for the July/August 2018 issue of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. Mark previously won the Black Orchid in 2015 for his story “A Meter of Murder,” which was published in AHMM‘s July/August 2016 issue.

The Black Orchid is presented each year by the Wolfe Pack—described on its website as “a forum to discuss, explore and enjoy the 73 Nero Wolfe books and novellas. The organization promotes fellowship and extends friendship to those who enjoy these great literary works of mystery through a series of events, book discussions, and a journal devoted to study of the genius detective, Nero Wolfe, and his intrepid assistant, Archie Goodwin.”

You can find out more about Mark and his work at his website here, and a list of previous Black Orchid Novella Award winners is here.

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.

Thielman Black Drop