The Name Game: Series Title Gimmicks


  • Both the Pat and Jean Abbott series by Frances Crane, and the Travis McGee series by John D. MacDonald use colours in their titles, although Frances thought of it first, scooping John by over twenty years.
    Examples: The Turquoise Shop, The Golden Box and The Yellow Violet by Crane, and The Deep Blue Goodbye, Nightmare in Pink and A Purple Place for Dying by MacDonald.

All in the Family

  • All of Randye Lordon’s Sydney Sloane books feature family members in the title.
    Examples: Brotherly Love, Sister’s Keeper and Father Forgive Me.

Alphabet Soup

  • The late, great Sue Grafton ambitiously tried to run the alphabet for her popular series featuring Kinsey Millhone. She got as far as “Y” is for Yesterday.
    Examples: “A” is for Alibi, “B” is for Burglar, etc.

I Love, I Love, I Love My Calendar Boy….

  • Neil Albert’s Dave Garrett is working his way through the month’s of the year.
    Examples: The January Corpse, The February Trouble, Burning March, etc.

Let Me Count the Ways…

  • Not content with merely 12 possible titles, like Neil Albert, or twenty-six, like Sue Grafton, Janet Evanovich is going for the gusto, using numbers, for her Stephanie Plum series, starting at one…
    Examples: One for the Money, Two for the Dough, Three to Get Deadly, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-Two Ski-Doo


  • Glen Cook’s hybrid fantasy/private eye series featuring Garrett uses three-word titles, with one of those titles always being a medal.
    Examples: Sweet Silver Blues, Bitter Gold Hearts, Cold Copper Tears
Respectfully compiled by Kevin Burton Smith.

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