Naming Names

 By Edith Maxwell

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Edith's latest book Batter Off Dead and a link to purchase it.

I occasionally donate a special prize to local charities and organizations for their fundraising auctions: the right to name a character in my next book. 

A real estate agent in my town pushed the bidding way up at an auction to benefit homeless and low-income families. Catherine Toomey appears as a grandmother and shopkeeper in more than one of my Quaker Midwife Mysteries. Mary Chatigny was the high bidder at our local historical museum’s event and was delighted to find herself in A Changing Lightas an 1890 tuberculosis doctor.

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When I was writing my Local Foods Mysteries, Diane Weaver won naming rights at a Malice Domestic auction. I had planned to slide her in as a customer on my protagonist’s organic farm in ‘Til Dirt Do Us Part. To my surprise, she also turned out to be an undercover DEA agent.

A bidder at our local cat shelter’s event wanted her cat Chloe to be the character. As a result, Aunt Adele in my Country Store Mysteries was happy to adopt a cat with a very loud purr, like the real Chloe. And Penelope Johnson became a detective in Murder in a Cape Cottage (out next September) after her twin sister Pamela won the prize at another auction. In real life, the sisters just turned eighty, but not in the book.

I like to offer naming rights. Bidders love them, so it makes money for the charity. And it’s free to me, and fun, too. 

I had finished a first draft of Batter Off Dead when the Merrimac River Feline Rescue Society auction organizers asked if I would donate again. Of course, I said yes – our rescue kitties have been adopted from them, and they do great work trapping and neutering feral cats. 

The winner asked if I would include the names of her mother-in-law Joan and Joan’s sister, Edna, both recently deceased. The sisters had loved cozy mysteries and had even read several of mine. I had time to slide them into the manuscript before it was due. And because the story in Batter Off Dead centers on senior citizens and an assisted living residence, Joan and Edna were a perfect fit! 

In South Lick, Indiana, fine foods and classic cookware can be found at Robbie Jordan’s Pans ’N Pancakes. Unfortunately, her country store also seems to stock up on murder . . .

In Batter Off Dead, Robbie and her new husband Abe O’Neill are enjoying a summer evening in the park with fellow townsfolk excited for some Friday night fireworks. In attendance are senior residents from Jupiter Springs Assisted Living including Roy Bird, father to South Lick’s very own Police Lieutenant Buck Bird. Despite his blindness, Roy is a member of his group home’s knitting circle, spending quality time with some lovely ladies.

But when the lightshow ends, one of the knitters who sat with Roy is found dead, a puncture wound in her neck. The poor woman’s death echoes that of Buck’s mother and Roy’s wife—an unsolved homicide. To help find the killer, Robbie’s going to have to untangle the knotty relationships deep in the victim’s past…

Readers: Have you ever recognized a real person’s name in a mystery or had your own featured? Who would you put forward if you won naming rights? I’d love to send one commenter a signed copy of the new book Batter Off Dead. BE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE COMMENT SO WE CAN CONTACT YOU.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode goes up next week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Maddie Day pens the Country Store Mysteries and Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries. As Agatha Award-winning author Edith Maxwell, she writes the Quaker Midwife Mysteries, the Local Foods Mysteries, and short crime fiction. Day/Maxwell lives with her beau north of Boston, where she writes, gardens, cooks, and wastes time on Facebook. Find her at,, Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen, and on social media: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. If I had naming rights, I'd request my mom and/or myself.

  2. I have recognized a name in a book before, because I knew the author.

    Count me in the drawing!


  3. please count me in your drawing. I have never seen my name in a book. my name is Lori but my birth name is Lournetta. I have not seen my great niece either Freyja or my niece Letiesha quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

  4. Recently, I did a DNA and ancestor research project, and I discovered some ancestors with great names. I like to write stories just for fun, and I have been using my ancestors' names!

  5. Becky@BeckySueEpstein.comMarch 4, 2022 at 5:49 AM

    Yes, I think this is a great way to "give back" -- auctioning off a character name for charity!

  6. I have won a few charity naming chances. I usually get a friend's name in a book. However, I did arrange to get my brother named as a murder suspect. He loved the book.

  7. I have never had a name featured in a book. Maybe one day.


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