The First Two Pages: “The Murderer’s Paradox” by David Corbett

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.

Rounding out our series on Sherlock Holmes stories from the new anthology In League with Sherlock Holmes, edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger, I’m pleased this week to welcome David Corbett, reflecting on his story “The Murderer’s Paradox”—written from the perspective of Moriarty! Corbett has talents in more directions than I can count. His short fiction has twice been selected for the Best American Mystery Stories anthology, and he’s an accomplished novelist as well; his latest, The Long-Lost Love Letters of Doc Holliday, was a finalist for the Lefty Award for Best Historical Mystery, and earlier award nominations include the Edgar, Anthony, Barry, Macavity, and Shamus. And not only is he a master craftsman, he’s also a master of talking about craft, with two writing books to his credit: The Art of Character and The Compass of Character.

But one thing he didn’t know about, as you’ll learn in the essay below, is Sherlock Holmes… which makes his success with this tale all the more impressive.

Find out more about Corbett at his website here. And please do check out as well two earlier essays by other contributors to In League with Sherlock Holmes: James W. Ziskin on “The Twenty-Five-Year Engagement” and Naomi Hirahara on “Infinite Loop.”

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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