The First Two Pages: “Infinite Loop” by Naomi Hirahara

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 week continues our focus on the recent anthology In League with Sherlock Holmes, edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger. Last week, James W. Ziskin offered a crisply analytical breakdown of his approach to echoing the language, style, and other elements of the canon for his pastiche, “The Twenty-Five-Year Engagement,” and this week Naomi Hirahara explores a different approach, drawing on her own past as a student at Stanford in the 1980s to inform her story “Infinite Loop,” featuring Shel Rock and Joann Wat. (I’m gonna have to draw on both of these essays next time I teach my Sherlock course at George Mason University—tremendously insightful and inspiring in each case!)

Naomi Hirahara won the 2007 Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original for her novel Snakeskin Shamisen, the third book in her Mas Arai mystery series, which features a Los Angeles gardener and Hiroshima survivor. Her first historical mystery, Clark and Division, set in 1944 Chicago, will be released by Soho Crime in August 2021. Her short fiction has been included in Los Angeles Noir, Los Angeles Noir 2: The Classics, Santa Cruz Noir and A Beast Without a Name. And she has an essay on writing amateur sleuths in the upcoming How to Write a Mystery: A Handbook by Mystery Writers of America, edited by Lee Child with Laurie R. King. Find out more at her website.

And stay tuned next week for David Corbett on his story “The Murderer’s Paradox” in the same anthology—this one in the voice of Moriarty!

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.

Hirahara-Infinite-Loop

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