Whimsical Series Titles

"Fonduing Fathers" by Julie Hyzy

I occasionally chuckle (and sometimes groan) at the titles of the paperback mysteries on our shelves. The lighthearted, cozy mysteries feature titles with puns, rhyming, alliteration and popular culture references.

We have Michelle Rowen's "Blood Bath & Beyond" and Denise Swanson's "Little Shop of Homicide." The jokey title is usually a sign that the mystery will focus less on blood and gore and more on feisty characters and wacky situations.

These mysteries often appear in series with related titles. Julie Hyzy writes the White House Chef mysteries. Her titles include "Affairs of Steak," "Fonduing Fathers," and "Eggsecutive Orders." I wonder how long she can continue without the titles becoming too strained. If the series is successful, Hyzy may have to invent twenty more presidential puns.

Jacklyn Brady's Piece of Cake series may already have this problem. The first book in the series is "A Sheetcake Named Desire." Because the heroine is a pastry chef in New Orleans where "A Streetcar Named Desire" is set, the title makes some sense. She followed with "Arsenic and Old Cake," "Cake on a Hot Tin Roof," and the forthcoming "The Cakes of Wrath." Using a rather somber novel about people starving for a comic bakery mystery title feels a bit off to me. But I am curious about what the next title will be.

--Jennifer A., Headquarters

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