The First Two Pages: “Farewell to the King” by Rosemary McCracken

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.

The Mesdames of Mayhem are a collective of Canadian crime writers who have now produced four anthologies: Thirteen in 2013, 13 O’Clock in 2015, 13 Claws in 2017, and just last fall In the Key of 13, stories with a musical theme. The previous anthology from this group, 13 Claws, produced four finalists for the Arthur Ellis Awards from Crime Writers of Canada: “Snake Oil” by M.H. Callway in the Best Novella category and “The Outlier” by Catherine Astolfo, “There be Dragons ” by Jane Petersen Burfield, and “The Ranchero’s Daughter” by Sylvia Maultash Warsh in the Best Short Story category, with “The Outlier” bringing home that latter prize.

With that history behind them, I’m pleased to welcome three of the Mesdames over the next three weeks to discuss their stories from the new anthology In the Key of 13—beginning with Rosemary McCracken on her story “Farewell to the King.”

As you’ll see in the essay itself, Rosemary enjoyed a long career in the newspaper business—as reporter, editor, and reviewer at papers across Canada—before turning to fiction. Her first mystery novel, Safe Harbor, was a finalist for Britain’s Debut Dagger Award, and she’s written two addition novels: Black Water and Raven Lake. Rosemary has also found success with short fiction, and her story “The Sweetheart Scamster” from the first Mesdames of Mayhem anthology, Thirteen, was a Derringer Award finalist. Find out more about Rosemary’s work at her website.

In the meantime, do enjoy her essay below—and look forward to essays over the next two weeks from authors Lynne Murphy and Sylvia Maultash Warsh.

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.

McCracken-Farewell

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