Help, new crime novel needs a title!

Food of Ghosts:Kindle,-2 I have finally finished the edits to the second DS Louisa Townsend mystery. The first book in the series is called Food of Ghosts. Here’s what Liane Adam, a recent Amazon reviewer, said of Food of Ghosts:

“A gripping thriller which I couldn’t put down. Marianne’s writing is accessible and well observed and characterisation convincing. I can’t wait for the next installment of this classic whodunit! At times it reminded me of The Killing as at various points you become convinced of who the killer is. Highly recommended.”

The new novel is tentatively called:  Killer Shoeshine in Suva

Does this title interest you, even just a little bit? Does it suggest a cosy read or a gruesome read or neither? Does having Suva in the title attract your attention? Do you know where Suva is? Do you care? Do you like a title to be obvious or mysterious? Do you like one word titles, such as REDEMPTION, or long literary  titles like The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night? Do you have any title ideas of your own? Yes? I would love to hear them 🙂

By the way, shoeshine boys feature heavily in the story, which is set in Suva (Fiji), and there is a killer and DS Louisa Townsend needs to find him, or her.

Why do I need help with this? I am terrible when it comes to titles. I can forget them as quickly as I notice them. I even forget the names of authors, which is why I often buy the same book twice. (Have you ever done that?) So any thoughts will be much appreciated.

As a thank you for leaving a comment and/or sharing this post on facebook or twitter or gmail or Linkedin etc one lucky person will win (yes, I said WIN!) a free copy of either Food of Ghosts or The Blue Suitcase, your choice.

If you do share the post, do make sure to tag me so I know to include you in the draw! The winning name will be drawn on the 3rd October.

PS: On a completely different note, as requested, here are some pics from our recent stay in la belle France, including the renovated bathroom and some oysters. Why oysters?  I had for them very first time. My verdict of the oysters? Not nearly as bad as I thought. A fresh sea taste and actually quite nice 🙂



lavander veggiwa

winefest man





brambles2 quince


lazing about

Vive the good life in France!




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21 Responses to Help, new crime novel needs a title!

  1. I love the title! It’s the kind of bizarre and intriguing title that would make me pick up a book

  2. Ruth F Hunt says:

    I like the title but what about this:
    The Shoeshine Killer or
    The Shoeshine Killer of Suva

    Great photo’s by the way! What an achievement!

    • Oh, gosh, yes, i like The Shoeshine Killer! Thanks, Ruth. Now trying to think if title properly reflects content. I also got some good feedback from Bridget Whelan,, she said:
      “what are the themes? Can you describe it in five words? What does your main character want? What’s the colour of the crime?”
      Lots to think about! 🙂

  3. Love oysters and those look so good!

    The title – don’t like it – too difficult to remember and say. ‘Shoeshine’ is a bit of a tongue twister. How many of your readership know where Suva is? I know they should but might be worth thinking about! If you are going to keep that in the title, then I think you need an easier to remember/say word to go with it. I’ll put it on the back burner and see if I come up with anything! 🙂

    • I can’t believe it took me so long to try them! And had we not won four dozen (plus a bottle of champagne!) I may still not have tried them. Ha ha! I think I will have them again too, especially as this area in France is a big oyster area!

      Big thanks for thoughts on title. It is a bit of a mouthful. Hm? So far the general consensus is to ditch “Suva” completely. But on other hand, it could be that the alliteration is just too much. Thanks too for putting on back burner, and I will keep thinking 🙂

  4. fcmalby says:

    Great pics, Marianne. The bathroom looks great and I love the food pics! I think Killer Shoeshine might have more impact as a title. I don’t necessarily pick up books for their location, and the two words alone might leave more intrigue. Your two books are on my list. I haven’t forgotten them. I’m struggling to read as I’m pushing on with writing, but I look forward to sinking into them as the nights draw in. Welcome home!

    • Thanks, Fiona. There were more food pics, especially of fruit and veg, but i think you get the idea 🙂 Regards the title, maybe something snappier is needed? Will keep thinking! And thanks for having my books on your list, hope you enjoy when you do have time to read them 🙂 I understand you not having time to read when you are writing, I am a bit like that. And good luck with the writing. You are going great! Well done, you! 🙂

  5. Katie says:

    Hi Marianne.

    I like the title, it make you as a reader want to look up were Suva is etc… 🙂 I love looking into titles and if they are wordy or hard to pronounce a little I find I remember them because I had to say it more than twice. I like Ruth idea of the title too.

    I haven’t brought a book twice because I’ve forgotten the title. But once at Christmas time three people all planning on getting me different books got me the same one three time was so funny.

    Great pics as well. I hope you’re well.

    Take care.

    • Hi Katie
      A big thanks for comment. It is so helpful to hear your thoughts along with everyone else’s. It will help me make up my mind – at least I think it will, eventually ;o) Everyone has their own take, so it’s trying to find a title that most appeals (and least puts people off!)
      Bad luck about the triple books at Xmas. Wow! I have had some unusual xmas presents but never three of the same books. Maybe we could have a blog post about unusual/remarkable gifts? Thanks again! Hope the writing is going well!

      • Katie says:

        Hi Marianne.

        I’m sure you’ll find the title you love for your book… Good luck with it. Remember you can’t please everyone with a title as long as you love it and it goes with your book and what it’s about, then it should work out.

        Ha! It was so funny but a great book. Ha! I bet that would be a fun one.

        Thanks- I hope all is well.


  6. Joy Claridge says:

    Bathroom looks fantastic and love the other France pics.

    Re title – the word ‘killer’ has different meanings – a killer shoeshine could be a really good shine on the shoes – so it makes for a good title – prefer without Suva – not so much an issue with where it is – just makes the title too long and not sure how relevant it is for Suva to be in the title. Killer Shoeshine I think works better on its own.

    Hope this helps – xx
    Joy (in cuba so writing in a hurry!)

    • Thanks, Joy. That bathroom was a task and a half, I feel like sleeping in it :o)
      And, yes, very helpful. Will be musing on this for a while longer, but so good to get everyones thoughts 🙂
      ps You look like you are having such a good sabbatical Joy, and the dancing in CUba looks superb! You look superb! 🙂 xxx

  7. Ruth F Hunt says:

    Hi Marianne,
    I was thinking about your title last night and think if you put ‘the’ in front, it works a lot better…

    The Killer Shoeshine

  8. Kendra says:

    Hi Marianne,

    Congratulations on finishing the bathroom–it looks great! That must have been hard work, but worth it. I love the food pics. It looks like you had a great time (was it cold there, you are wearing a coat in the one photo?). I’ve had fried oysters, but never raw, and have mixed feelings about trying them. You were very brave to give them a go. 😉

    Re: the title. I like having the word Suva in it. I didn’t know that Suva was Fiji but the fact that it’s a place which is unfamiliar to me makes me interested in reading it. I like Ruth’s idea of The Shoeshine Killer of Suva best so far. Good luck with it! I have a terrible time choosing titles too.

    Best wishes, Kendra

    • Hi Kendra, always good to hear from you. Yes, August was a tad cooler than usual, reported to be the coldest and wettest August for 80 years (!) but it was still warmer than in Scotland ;O) I never knew you could eat oysters cooked! Were they tatsy? I just had them with lemon juice, which I believe kills the oyster, I hope so!

      Thanks for input regards the title. What is quite marked , here and on facebook/twitter, is how many people don’t know where Suva is. I assumed everyone would know, but, of course, I lived there and in the Pacific region for ten years so am very familiar with it. I am glad, though, that you find it intriguing and not baffling! I will keep thinking – but, yes, I do like Ruth’s suggestion too 🙂
      Thanks again!

      • Kendra says:

        Hi Marianne,
        They were very tasty. I hadn’t known you could eat them cooked either, before I saw them on the menu at a seafood restaurant we went to while on holiday.
        I know where Fiji is, but had not known that Suva was the capital, but then my geography isn’t great. 😉
        How are the writing classes going?
        Best wishes,

        • Hi Kendra

          If you can cook mussels, why not oysters, i suppose 🙂 I may consider then cooked the next time. (I’ve since learnt that the lemon juice only anaethetises the oysters before eating – yikes. Not sure i like the idea of eating something that is still vivante!)

          writingclasses doing okay, thanks. There is a lot more competition these days, especially from free online courses and MOOCS but usually such courses don’t offer tutor input and i think that is where we stand out. A good tutor still makes all the difference 🙂

          very best

  9. “Not nearly as bad as I thought.” What a glowing recommendation for oysters. haha 😉 I live in Australia, seafood capital of the world, where people have seafood for Christmas dinner, and I have to say I don’t eat anything involving tentacles, shells, or slime, myself. Tried most of ’em, don’t like the texture. Gotta be fish I’m afraid, the kind with fins n scales. I may well be accused of being unAustralian for this piece of heresy.

    Now to the title. I quite like “Killer Shoeshine”. And I agree with Joy’s comment about the pleasing ambiguity of “killer”.

    I know where Suva is, and while it’s interesting, I think it makes the title too long. If you were going for the Alexander McCall Smith type of book, it might work to make it long… but your style is different to his, slightly eccentric in places (in a good way) but not whimsical.

    • Didn’t realise Aussies were so fond of their oysters … although not all Aussies, obviously ;o) I do prefer fish to anything with a shell – shells are such a lot of hard work for not much return. Ha! But I’m glad I tried osters, they were on my must-do-in-France list as the French so LURV their oysters and at least I know now what they are talking about. Not sure i’ll bother with frogs legs, though, or snails ;o)

      And a big thank you for thinking about the title. I agree, the novel may be a slightly eccentric in places but it is not whimsical like Mr McCall Smith’s No 1 detective
      lady. (I actually find his stories a tad bland but I know I am in a minority with this, my sister thinks his books are great). So a slightly eccentric-cum-ambiguous title may work. Thanks again 🙂

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