Posted in My book problem

On My Bookshelf – What’s In a Name?

On My Bookshelfv1

Following on from yesterday’s post where I gave you a peak at some of my bookshelves I have decided to extend the theme and show you more – yes there is more!

I have endured a lot of mocking about my reviews over the years, chiefly from my brother who on discovering them on Amazon felt the need to add helpful comments on random reviews. These comments are chiefly made up of ‘in jokes’ and will make no sense to anyone hoping for enlightenment, something that is gratifyingly noted by the number of people who thinks it adds to the discussion!

One of the latest objects for mirth is my ‘Five of the Best’ posts, which was initially prompted by my son, who insists that what I read in a certain month can’t possibly be of any help to anyone – after all a book I read in February has no relevance to what someone else will choose in February – I take all this on the chin and tell myself it is done out of affection.

However all this mickey taking got me to thinking… and I give you an excerpt of an early comment on one of my book reviews. The book I was reviewing was written by Sophie Hannah:

Probably also the kind of person who only reads books by people who have surnames as first names like Clive Michael or Betty Richards – don’t bother looking them up as I made them up as I’m not that kind of person myself –  although I once did have a surname as a first name but now I don’t as I changed it about three weeks ago for a first name to another name with a first name afterwards so it’s not a hypocritical thing to say at all…

So if you can disentangle the last part of that sentence you will deduce that my  maiden name is also a surname which is a first name… so today I am spotlighting five authors who have first names as surnames and currently sit on my bookshelf! That’s got to be helpful right?

Sophie Hannah – I have read all the books in the Culver Valley series which are very clever puzzles, one was too obscure for this reader, and although I haven’t enjoyed them all, I do like to see what direction the author will take us in next.

My review for book nine in the Culver Valley series: The Telling Error

Sophie Hannah1

Peter James – Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a huge fan of this series, not least for another name detail, Roy Grace’s wife is called Cleo! Peter James delivers consistent well-told tales including his latest book You Are Dead which is out later this month.

Peter James 1

Agatha Christie – probably the author that started my trend of reading books by people with surnames that can be first names. I love Poirot and his little grey cells and here are three 1970’s editions published by Fortuna!
See my review of One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

Agatha Christie 1

Graeme Cameron – the newest author to join this special gang has created a serial killer with a wicked sense of humour in Normal

Graeme Cameron

Sarah Hilary has created a fantastic protagonist in Marnie Rome (perhaps my next post should be characters who have countries for names?) while simultaneously covering difficult issues in this immensely readable series.

See my review of No Other Darkness Sarah Hilary

So today’s challenge is to tell me who sits on your bookshelf with a first name as a surname!

Tune in next time and you might be lucky and find a useful link between my chosen books although this can’t be guaranteed!


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

41 thoughts on “On My Bookshelf – What’s In a Name?

  1. Family is different, I daresay (I’m an only child, so what do I know about sibling teasing?), but I’m always surprised when strangers have nothing better to do than mock other people’s reviews. Then again, I’ve never checked to see whether mine have had their share of negative remarks, because I simply assume that everyone else is struggling to find time to do the most important things in their life. I suppose you could argue that being ‘witty about someone else’s review’ may be one of the important things for them…


    1. You are right – the fact that he is family makes all the difference and it is typical of the relationship we have – he put a longer comment on my review of a stapler I got through Amazon than the review itself – I put it down to boredom at work as he clearly doesn’t have enough to occupy himself. I have to admit I rarely get comments at all on my Amazon reviews either positive or negative.


  2. Haha! My family know I review books online, and the only time they ever hunted out a review was when I was published in a print magazine- apparently it’s only worth something on paper!

    Love your surnames that are also first names… I’d never considered it, but one of my favourite authors counts as that- Chris Ryan.


  3. Oh, I know about sibling teasing, Cleo… I think you had a brilliant idea too to think of books where the authors surname could be a first name, too. I’m looking right now at my own bookshelves where I see some P.D. James…


  4. Great post and you’ve got me thinking. I’ve got Richard Benson, Arundhati Roy, Laline Paull (I know it’s spelt differently but I’m sneaking it in) so far…


    1. Oh thank you Tracey – I’d forgotten him (although I don’t own any copies anymore) My Grandmother used to save me a stack for when I went to visit so he was one of my early introductions to crime reading too. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, as it’s getting towards teatime what about Elizabeth David! And one of my favourite authors is Jean Rhys. There is also the poet Edward Thomas . Oh, and I’m looking at an autobiography by a gentleman called Bob Dylan – who of course gave himself a made up surname after another Thomas poet whose first name was Dylan! You’ve got me intrigued Cleopatra. My PC sits next to my poetry and autobiography shelf, which also just happened to be where several books by Jean Rhys used to sit, before a major plastering, decorating and floorsanding last year got all my books boxed up and put in storage, hence, my still currently well organised shelves!


    1. Ah yes Elizabeth David for some tasty food – Great finds there especially good old Dylan Thomas, how could I have forgotten him – there really are so many who belong to this club. That’s one way to keep your shelves organised 😉


  6. I lie your thinking. My personal weakness if for book titles with forename and surname in the title but, addressing the subject in hand, when I looked around the room I spotted a volumes of poetry by Virginia Graham and Edward Thomas.


  7. I love that your brother does that! I have Mari Hannah and David Jackson to name two I can think of off the top of my head. I do also have Graeme Cameron’s, Normal which I love!


  8. I think your brother is so funny. A stapler comment longer than the review! I’m the odd person in the family with all my reading – no one really understands it. So, I don’t talk about the blog or really anything much about my reading and I haven’t told them how to find my blog. I keep my Facebook page for family and stuff like that.

    Clever with the last name can be used as first name. Our last name could be a first name too and my husband’s name could be flipped around and still work well. Some people even do it when they are not sure which is the first and which is the last. What about Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Michaels I’ve been reading lately? Mary Stewart, Phyllis Whitney, Louise Penny. That’s all I’ve got right now.


    1. He is a bit funny 😉 I think he stumbled across them looking for gift ideas, I hadn’t told him they were there and it took me a while to twig the first time he did it!
      I do like your additions, especially Mary Stewart – I hadn’t mentally added her.


  9. I love the comments on Amazon reviews – especially the rude ones! I picked up a ‘troll’ for a brief period, and was so disappointed when he got bored with me! My brother left a ‘rude’ comment on my blog early on, and one of my other followers got quite annoyed about it – pseudonyms really don’t help!

    Jane Casey, Peter May, Donna Leon!


    1. The first time he commented it took me a while to work out who it was… now whenever I get notification of a comment, it’s invariably him. On the early one featured above another reviewer on Amazon took exception to the comments which was highly amusing as they exchanged a few – of course I knew it was tongue-in-cheek, I don’t think she did! Love your additions and I stood staring at Peter May when preparing this post and completely missed it 😉 Now I’ve had all the hints I could easily have found ten!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Well, a quick glance shows me – David Mark, Patrick Lee, Lee Child, Craig Russell, Jane Alexander, Andrew Taylor, Katharine Grant, Michael Lewis, Michael Russell, PD James, Charles Cumming, Scott Turow, Samantha Shannon, Ray Celestin, Mark Sennen, Jane Isaac….that’s plenty, I think! A lot of names perhaps wouldn’t be popular in this country, but more so in the US.


      1. Some are definitely not names used much in the UK! I see Tracey mentioning Dick Francis – I was an avid fan of his as a teenager. Not read any for years, although it’s his son that does them now. Guess I’ve grown out of them…I think I thought you could pick names where at least one name could be used as the other name – does that make sense?! Amusing post Cleo!


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