Blue Who? or A Rose by Any Other Name...

Back in February, I announced that St. Martin’s Minotaur would be publishing my fourth novel. We both announced the book as Blue Murder. And for a while, that’s what it looked like it was going to be.

It had been my working title for most of the time I was writing the book. I liked the title well enough. It had to be called something, after all. The whole industry thinks dimly of books with no names: harder to identify in the store. Blue Murder is an archaic expression, one that I thought evoked the time in which the book is set -- the early 1930s -- plus it had a sort of cool, noir sound. Also, at one point in the book, someone actually does scream blue murder, so it was even a bit relevant. I figured better titles might be out there, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what they might be. There are many things I’m good at, but dreaming up titles -- for books, magazine articles or anything -- is not one of them. I don’t know why that should be so, but it is.

About a month ago, perhaps more, Peter Joseph, my wonderful editor at St. Martin’s, suggested that we go hunting for that better title. This led to some hilarious spitballing sessions on this end, with my partner, David, obligingly hauling out his collections of books on noir and art deco and 1930s industrial design and us sitting around with glasses of wine and plates of cheese making great long lists of potential titles, most of them strings of words you wouldn’t even wish on a dog. (I say that blithely and with tongue in cheek. Everyone knows that dog naming is a serious undertaking. Even if I happen to think that the best name for a dog is “Steve.”)

I thought I might share some of the titles David and I cooked up, but I’ve decided against it. I’m going to be greedy and hang onto them, perhaps use them some other time. Some of them are actually quite good, (especially a few of the ones David came up with) but none of them described this book; the book that had been known as Blue Murder. (And remember what I told you: I’m not so great at cooking up titles. So I’d best hoard the good ones I’ve collected.)

In the end it was Peter that came up with the winner, the title by which the book will be known:

Death was the Other Woman.

I love it, because it's so simple and it describes the book quite precisely, while giving nothing at all away.

It excites me that the book already has an ISBN -- 0312377703 -- and a publication month -- January 2008. I haven’t seen the cover yet, but I know it’s in progress and I’ll be seeing designs soon.

This is the first time I’ve mentioned the book in this space since February, though it’s been occupying a lot of the space in my head. I’ll likely go back to not mentioning it again for a while, at least until ARCs go out in a few months. But I did want to tell you: Death was the Other Woman. January 2008.


Bernita said…
It IS an excellent title!

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