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.
Last week, Peter Lovesey’s essay on “And the Band Played On” opened a short series featuring contributors to the new Crime Writers’ Association anthology Music of the Night, published in late February by Flame Tree Publishing and available through Simon & Schuster in the U.S. This week, it’s a pleasure to welcome Christine Poulson with reflections on her story “Some Other Dracula,” which brings back Cassandra James, the protagonist of Christine’s first three crime novels: Dead Letters (published as Murder is Academic in the U.S.), Stage Fright, and Footfall. As Christine explains at her own blog, fans have been asking when Cassandra might return (the last Cassandra James novel was published in 2006), and this story might well be a stepping stone to more ahead—fingers crossed! Christine’s more recent novels have featured scientist Katie Flanagan, including Deep Water, Cold Cold Heart, and An Air That Kills—the latter of which earned this praise from the Morning Star: “Poulson is currently unrivalled as a writer of scientific mysteries combining elements of both the thriller and the whodunnit.”
The anthology Music of the Night, edited by Martin Edwards, features short fiction connected by the theme of music, and Lovesey and Poulson are joined in these pages by a stunning group of writers: Abi Silver, Alison Joseph, Andrew Taylor, Antony M. Brown, Brian Price, Cath Staincliffe, C. Aird, Chris Simms, 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. (I’m putting my own contribution, the story “Love Me or Leave Me,” outside that list, because otherwise I’d be calling myself “stunning” too!)
To find out more about Christine, her books, and her short fiction, visit her website here, which also includes links to other short stories and blog posts—but first, do check out the essay below for a glimpse at her latest story, and be sure to pick up the full collection 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.Poulson-Dracula