I began writing about Matthew Scudder in the mid-1970s. The first novel, The Sins of the Fathers, appeared in 1975, and A Drop of the Hard Stuff—the 17th and most recent—was published in 2011. Over the years Scudder has also been featured in 11 short works of fiction; By the Dawns Early Light, which first appeared in Playboy in 1984, is the third of them.I had thought Scudders career was finished with the publication of the fifth novel, Eight Million Ways to Die. But Id promised a short story to Bob Randisi for a private eye anthology (The Eyes Have It) and By the Dawns Early Light was it; it got Scudder back in business, and in the process won an Edgar Allan Poe award and became my first story to appear in Playboy.A year later, I saw a way to make a larger story out of it, adding a second plotline and giving the original story more dimension, and the result was When the Sacred Ginmill Closes, which many readers have chosen as their favorite Scudder novel. But it seems to me that the short story holds up, and I hope yu enjoy it.By the Dawns Early Light is included in The Night and the Music, my collection of all 11 Matthew Scudder short stories, available as an eBook and in handsome trade paperback form.