August 18: the stag on the train

My friend Robert’s book The Last Wolf is apparently doing good business on the best seller lists. A catchy title referring to the last wolf killed in England some time around 1200. A wolf is always a good beast to have in a title. The other good word of recent years is ‘girl’; The girl on the train; The girl with the dragon tattoo; The girl in the spider’s web; The girl who fell from the sky. Girls are tops in the publishing industry. A few years ago it was snow. You had to have snow in your title to get noticed. The key to success might be as simple as that. A title with a magical word. Television certainly believes in the power of the title and will twist everything to a risible degree to get the snug fit. Rosemary and Thyme. Rosemary Whatever and Jackie Thyme; two gardeners with a knack for solving crimes. Isn’t it something like that? It’s so absurd it would make a cat laugh. Belt and Braces. Billy Belt and Braces McGowan. Two no nonsense cops with a taste for real ale and old fashioned policework. Trajan’s Column. Julie Trajan is a lonely hearts columnist with an interest in ancient Rome and an unlikely knack for solving crimes using her classical expertise. You could spend hours making the stuff up. I dare say they start with a title. It’s like putting the cart before the horse. Oh, there’s another one. The Cart before the Horse. Frank Cart and Bill ‘Horse’ Horsely, two insiders investigating corruption in the gambling industry. The question is what will next year’s word be. I’m putting my money on stag as the new wolf with fog as the meteological word and instead of girl knave. Here are my titles for 2018: The Stag on the Train. Jack Stag investigates a murder on the Virgin pendelino to Runcorn. The Knave of Thrones. Jack Knave; an unlikely rise to the heights, Jack Knave will stop at nothing to quench his thirst for power. Fog in the Casino. Jack Fog mixes it with the glitterati in St Tropez and reveals an unlikely cover-up.

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