The First Two Pages: “The Greatest Secret” by James Blakey

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.

This is the second June in a row that the First Two Pages has devoted space to anthologies edited by Judy Penz Sheluk—testament to her hard work on behalf of the mystery community (and in that same regard, congratulations to Judy for being recently elected chair of Crime Writers of Canada). Last June, the focus was on contributors to The Best Laid Plans; be sure to check out essays by Mary Dutta on “Festival Finale,” Lisa de Nikolits on “Fire Drill,” and Chris Wheatley on “The True Cost of Liberty.” And today we turn attention to the anthology Heartbreaks and Half-Truths, to be published on June 18 (and available for pre-order here now). Contributors to the new anthology include Blair Keetch, Buzz Dixon, Chris Wheatley, Christine Eskilson, Edward Lodi, Gustavo Bondoni, J A Henderson, James Blakey, James Lincoln Warren, John M. Floyd, Joseph S. Walker, Judy Penz Sheluk, Kate Flora, KM Rockwood, Paula Gail Benson, Peggy Rothschild, Rhonda Eikamp, Robb T. White, Sharon Hart Addy, Steve Liskow, Susan Daly, and Tracy Falenwolfe.

First up with an essay is James Blakey, writing on “The Greatest Secret.” I first became an admirer of James’ stories when I read “The Bicycle Thief,” originally published in The Norwegian American and a 2019 Derringer Award Winner, and then I was pleased to meet him in person—and dapperly attired! (second from right below)—at a launch party for the anthology Crime Travel, which includes his terrific story “The Case of the Missing Physicist.”

You can find more about James’ work at his website here—and hope you enjoy his reflections on his new story below.

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.


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