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.
It’s an extraordinary honor—and I can’t overstress either of those words too much—to host Peter Lovesey at the First Two Pages. The only living British writer to have earned the Crime Writers’ Association’s Cartier Diamond Dagger and been named a Grand Master by Mystery Writers of America, Peter joins us today with an essay about his story “And the Band Played On” from the new CWA anthology Music of the Night, published in late February by Flame Tree Publishing and available through Simon & Schuster in the U.S.
Edited by Martin Edwards (another Diamond Dagger honoree), Music of the Night features short fiction connected by the theme of music and written by a tremendously fine list of contributors: Abi Silver, Alison Joseph, Andrew Taylor, Antony M. Brown, Brian Price, Cath Staincliffe, C. Aird, Chris Simms, Christine Poulson, David Stuart Davies, Dea Parkin, Jason Monaghan, Kate Ellis, L.C. Tyler, Leo McNeir, Martin Edwards, Maxim Jakubowski, Neil Daws, Paul Charles, Paul Gitsham, Ragnar Jónasson, Shawn Reilly Simmons, and Vaseem Khan. (And I’ll echo that phrase “extraordinary honor” to add that I’m so pleased to have my own story “Love Me or Leave Me” included in the collection too.)
Peter’s story actually appeared in two collections in February. His own latest book, Reader, I Buried Them and Other Stories, was released in early February by Soho Press in the U.S. and by Sphere in the UK—and that collection stretches from his first published short story to three new stories, spanning a fifty-year career in short-form crime fiction. Peter is, of course, a master of long-form fiction too, with three well-known, well-loved series featuring Sergeant Cribb, of Scotland Yard in the 1880s; Bertie, Prince of Wales; and Peter Diamond of the Bath police.
Beyond his fine writing and storytelling, Peter is also one of the kindest and most generous people I know in the crime writing community, and I’m grateful again for his appearance here today.
To find out more about Peter and his career, visit his website—and do pick up both Reader, I Buried Them and Music of the Night.
In the meantime, enjoy below a preview of “And the Band Played On” (thanks for letting me Americanize some punctuation, Peter!)—and stay tuned for essays ahead by other contributors to Music of the Night, including yet another Diamond Dagger winner!
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.Lovesey-Music