The First Two Pages: “What’s a Little Murder Between Mammals?” by Rosalie Spielman

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.

This is the final First Two Pages essay of 2022 and also the final essay in a series celebrating contributors to Magic Is Murder, the tenth volume in the Chesapeake Crimes anthology series. Magic Is Murder features a great array of contributors, each with ties to the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime: Donna Andrews, Pam Clark, Greg Herren, Smita Harish Jain, Eleanor Cawood Jones, Tara Laskowski, Jaquelyn Lyman-Thomas, Adam Meyer, Alan Orloff, Shari Randall, KM Rockwood, Rosalie Spielman, Marcia Talley, Robin Templeton, Cathy Wiley, and Stacy Woodson. Over the past two weeks, I’ve featured essays here by two contributors—Marcia Tally on her story “Behind the Magic 8-Ball” and KM Rockwood on “Pyewackett”—and this week I’m pleased to welcome Rosalie Spielman with “What’s a Little Murder Between Mammals?”

Rosalie is the author of the Hometown Mysteries series. The first book in the series, Welcome Home to Murder, was published in June 2022, and the next book comes out in February of next year: Home is Where the Murder Is. She also wrote Death Under the Sea and Death on a Cliff as part of the multi-author Aloha Lagoon series. You can find more about Rosalie and her work—novels and short fiction both— at her website, and be sure to join her Facebook readers’ group, You Know The Spiel.

Rosalie and I have been crossing paths a bit lately online, part of a Zoom lunchtime powerwrite hosted by the Chessie Chapter, and while I’ve been intermittent in my own attendance, the group has helped me to stay on track with a couple of projects—writing, revising, editing, always pushing ahead.

Rosalie has been pushing toward the deadline of her next book in those gatherings, and I’m grateful to her for taking time to write the essay below in the midst of everything.

Enjoy! And happy holidays to all ahead—best wishes for a terrific start to 2023.

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.