The First Two Pages: “The Curious Case of Miss Amelia Vernet” by Dana Cameron

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.

I’ve long admired Dana Cameron‘s work—and Dana Cameron herself too, I should add!—particularly with a focus on her short stories in several directions. The quality of her writing and storytelling is always top-notch, but then there’s also the range and breadth of her fiction, from the paranormal universe of her Fangborn stories to the a/k/a Jayne espionage and adventure tales to the “colonial noir” (what a phrase!) of her Anna Hoyt stories. Even within the Fangborn tales, Dana continually stretches her talents, not only writing contemporary stories in this universe but stepping back in time and across geography—even with a Fangborn story featuring Cleopatra, something that draws on Dana’s work in archeology as well. (And speaking of archeology: Don’t miss Dana’s novels too, including the Emma Fielding series, now also adapted for the screen by Hallmark.)

All this is to say that I was super-excited to hear that Dana was collecting all of her Fangborn short stories into a collection: Pandora’s Orphans, which released last week. I had the opportunity to read an advance copy of the book (rereading the stories in some cases) in preparation for a panel on short story collections at this past weekend’s More Than Malice conference; Dana joined Lawrence Block, Nikki Dolson, Gale Massey, and Sara Paretsky in a fun discussion of the pleasures of short fiction and the challenges of gathering a cohesive story collection. (The panel was only available to folks who had registered for Malice.) And I’m pleased today to host Dana talking about one of the stories from the new collection, “The Curious Case of Miss Amelia Vernet,” which I’ve taught previously in one of my “Sherlock” courses at George Mason University. Fangborn plus Sherlock? It’s a match you don’t want to miss.

Enjoy the preview of “Amelia Vernet” below in Dana’s First Two Pages essay—which also provides a preview of the full collection, a book I’d encourage everyone to pick up!

And while on the subject, congratulations to James Blakey, who has won a copy of Pandora’s Orphans through a giveaway I hosted in my quarterly newsletter back in June. James, hope you enjoy as much as I have—and thanks for entering!

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.


2 thoughts on “The First Two Pages: “The Curious Case of Miss Amelia Vernet” by Dana Cameron

  1. Jacqueline Seewald


    Very interesting. I appreciate being introduced to other writers whose work is new to me.

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