Posted by: nancycurteman | February 27, 2013

A Great Title for a Murder Mystery Novel

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south-africa-background-5At last, I’ve finished the second draft of my fourth novel set in South Africa. I will begin a final rewrite in two weeks. I’m ready to choose a title. As is my custom I seek advice from my friends and readers. So I would really appreciate it if you would help me by doing the following:

Read the blurb below.

  1. Read the list of possible titles.
  2. Add any title ideas you might have. Imagine you are browsing in a bookstore. Think about a title that might make you check out the book.
    After adding your titles, go to the comments section and list your first, second and third choices.

Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedules to do this.

 Weston 4  Blurb
Lysi Weston, self-styled amateur sleuth, and Grace Wright, her earthy Harlem-born colleague, jet off to South Africa to visit Grace’s college roommate. Their vacation goes terribly awry when Lysi becomes embroiled in the investigation of two murders involving a treacherous witch doctor, a culturally scorned gay and an embittered Black man. While Grace romances a libidinous African detective, Lysi’s investigation becomes more complicated when an old flame, Australian Detective Maynard Christie travels 800 miles to rekindle their romance. Lysi wastes no time involving him in her sleuthing efforts. Now Lysi must cope with the result—Maynard Christie has become the murderer’s prime target.

Murder South African Style

Murder in the African Township

Murder in Cape Town

Murder on Vacation

Murder Casts a Spell

Murder in the Jungle

Murder on the Double

Murder in the Mother City

The Cape Town Caper

Murder by Witchery

Murder of a Witch

Never Kill a Witch

Murder, South Africa

Love and Murder: Making Up for Lost Crime



  1. Never Kill a Witch, first of all it’s a warning and suggests genre, theme and at least one interesting character. But as I see it -and feel it- for me there is no hook in that blurb so far. At this moment, I am standing in front of the shelf with the book in my hand, but still looking around to see if some other title catches my eye.
    Claudio F.

    p.s.: Thank you for taking into account our opinions!


    • Claudio, Thank you for your title suggestion. I also appreciate your critique of my blurb. Of course the blurb is a first draft, but your comments certainly gave me pause. I will work on a strong opening line hook.


  2. I think I need more information to make a good choice or suggestion ~ e.g., Murder in a Teacup involved poison as the murder weapon.

    Can you give us any clues about how and where the murder takes place and is carried out before we help you select a title?

    Without knowing more:

    1. Murder Casts A Spell
    2. Murder in Cape Town
    3. Murder on the Double


    • Nancy, Good point. I am walking a bit of a delicate line regarding how much I reveal. I’ll have to think harder about what to share. Thank you for the title suggestions you shared.


  3. Title suggestion: Prime Target


    • Hi Jan, Prime Target does grab my attention. Thanks for suggesting it.


  4. Of the list here, I like “Murder Casts a Spell” and “Never Kill a Witch.” They both give the idea that the book will be a fun mystery romp, not sure if that’s what you’re going for.

    Also, I agree with Claudio about the blurb; you might want to focus on just the hook rather than giving us so many characters to follow (I had to reread the blurb to follow what was going on as so many characters were introduced in the blurb — 9, if we count the two murdered people). It sounds like a really interesting concept!


    • Hi Christi,
      I like both your title selections. I really appreciate your comments regarding too many characters. Both you and Claudio are looking for a better hook. That’s great information for me. I will definitely work on producing an engaging first line. And, you are right on—it is a fun mystery romp.


  5. I like Murder in Cape Town best, then Murder, South Africa, and Murder in the Jungle (if indeed, a murder occurs in the jungle). Good luck with it!


    • Murder in Cape Town has gotten a lot of votes. It’s currently between it and Murder Casts a Spell. Thanks for your suggestions.


  6. I like the murder casts a spell or the Cape Town caper


    • Maggie, Thanks so much for your input. I chose Murder Casts a Spell.


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