The First Two Pages: “Mistress of the Mickey Finn” by Elaine Viets

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.

Elaine Viets and I have been friends from… well, “way back” might seem to cover it, since at this point I don’t remember exactly when we first met. It may have been a Malice Domestic—most likely—and it was certainly at a Malice when Elaine and I found ourselves in an elevator together, and I was stunned when she said something fairly simple like, “Hi, Art. How are you?” and I nearly fell out because…. Elaine Viets knows who I am!?!

I know now that such friendliness and familiarity are both part of the Malice Domestic community generally and, more particularly, part of Elaine’s openness and generosity of character. As accomplished as she’s been as a writer in so many ways—Agatha, Anthony, and Lefty Award winner; toastmaster and guest of honor at Malice; bestselling author of 33 mysteries in four different series—she’s ultimately down to earth and a joy as a person. And while she’s earned much of her success as a novelist, Elaine is also a terrific short story writer, with a new collection of her short fiction, Deal with the Devil, recently published by Crippen & Landru.

All this in mind, I’m honored to count her as a friend and thrilled to be hosting her today at the First Two Pages talking about some of the real-life inspirations for her newest short story, “Mistress of the Mickey Finn,” which appears in the latest issue of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine,

Check out Elaine’s website here for more about her career, and check out her essay below for a preview of this fun new story.

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

Viets Mistress

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