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’m pleased to welcome Eleanor Cawood Jones back to the First Two Pages today. She wrote an earlier First Two Pages essay on her story “Killing Kippers” back when B.K. Stevens was originally curating this blog series (a story Eleanor mentions in her essay below as a turning point in her career). Since that story and essay, Eleanor has continued to produce some terrific stories, and last year, she earned a Derringer Award for “The Great Bedbug Incident and the Invitation of Doom” in Chesapeake Crimes: Invitation to Murder. For today’s essay, Eleanor discusses the latest story in a series featuring Lorrie George, who has previous appeared in “Brayking Glass” in Murder by the Glass and “Cabo San Loco” in Murder on the Beach—with a fourth tale coming out later this month: “The Lyin’ Witch in the Wardrobe” in Murder in the Mountains. And that “Urnest” of the title? He’ll appear again in Murder in the Mountains too—making him a series character, of sorts, as well.
To keep in touch with Eleanor, follow her on Twitter here. To read the full story “The Importance of Being Urnest,” check out Black Cat Weekly #15. And in the meantime enjoy Eleanor’s essay below, which gives a nice sample of the story—and her style and humor generally too!
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.Jones-Urnest
Really enjoyed this post. Eleanor, you make cleverly humorous mystery seem effortless. (Oh? It’s not?) Off to read the story in its entirety. Thanks, Eleanor and Art.