The Nameless Horror

The Ghost Of Book Puns Past

I discovered this ancient list of change-one-letter-in-the-title book puns with associated blurbs buried in a long-disused, spider-haunted folder on my hard drive yesterday evening. I seem to remember doing it several websites and at least one pen name ago, based on what I saw on the shelves nearby. In fact, it must have been before BCon in Madison because I vaguely remember Lee mentioning he’d had a chuckle at The Billing Floor way back then.

Anyway, here they are. They don’t all deserve to vanish into obscurity. I’m especially partial to the Martyn Waites one.

Every Secret Thong (L. Lippman): Who is the masked killer preying on Baltimore’s cross-dressing elite?

Pope (S. Gran): Life in Hell’s Kitchen takes a turn for the strange when reformed heroin addict Joe Flannigan is called in by a mysterious patron to track down Benedict IX. The rogue pontiff is in town with something worse than Midnight Mass on his mind.

The Billing Floor (L. Child): Little did Jack Reacher realise when he got off the bus in the town of Baxter, Mississippi, that a want ad in the local paper would see him land a job with the local utilities company. Promised a corner office and a varied working life, he instead finds himself duped, trapped in a cubicle in the company’s accounts department, fighting to retain his sanity in the face of overwhelming mundanity.

The Mercy Seal (M. Waites): He roams the ice floes, seeking out the sick and the dying. In an unforgiving landscape where death comes slow and painful, you too will pray for a swift end beneath the flippers of the Mercy Seal.

People Pie (K. Wignall): Just what is in the delicious pastry foodstuffs coming out of Old Mrs Willis’s kitchen? Find out in this whacky cooking mystery where ‘having the neighbours for dinner’ has a whole new meaning!

Private Bars (G. Rucka): When Tara Chace walked away from MI6, she had nowhere to go and no idea what to do with her life. Like so many others before her, she finds herself caught up in the seedy world of Las Vegas’s strip clubs and VIP rooms in a book great for fans of SHOWGIRLS and ANCHORMAN.

Herd Rain (B. Eisler): On a trip to Texas to kill a ice cream magnate, assassin John Rain becomes involved cattle rustling. When it becomes apparent that his old enemies at the CIA are behind the cow thefts, he realises the operation is part of a wider plot to smuggle American bullocks into Cuba in order to kill Castro.

Lark Hollow (J. Connolly): Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker finds love, laughs and a new meaning to life when he stays in a Tuscan sanctuary for songbirds. A movie version is already in production, starring Hugh Grant and Diane Lane.

Fight Clue (C. Palahniuk): In the aftermath of a violent brawl at Mrs McKinney’s Grill and Massage Parlour, only one piece of mysterious evidence can provide Detective Ron Harvey with the truth of what happened on that bloody night.

The Burping Girl (M. Billingham): Tom Thorne’s niece Jessica suffers from terrible gas in this bittersweet comedy in the tradition of the great British musical halls.