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Battle of the Book Covers
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Since the House of Zeus reissue of One for Sorrow is now available for pre-order from I can show off the spiffy new cover design for the series.

Mary and I love the Byzantine mosaics used by Poisoned Pen Press but the HoZ covers probably convey to the uninitiated a better idea of what the books are about, that they are set during the Roman Empire, albeit an era that has not been used as extensively by mystery writers as earlier periods.

"Death in Byzantium" is perhaps more descriptive and enticing than a "John the Eunuch Mystery" or a "John Lord Chamberlain Mystery." Or so we hope.

Then there is the new name. We only knew we were M.E. Mayer in the UK when we saw our new covers. I think the idea is that a reader is more likely to remember one name than a pair of names. Writing teams often use a single name. See, for example, Charles Todd. I guess we could say that "M" stands for Mary and "E" stands for Eric.

This is not a criticism of Poisoned Pen Press. At the time the series began both we and PPP believed that stressing how the series differed from other Roman mysteries was the way to go. But perhaps what most readers are looking for is not something different but some slight variation on a familiar theme.

The covers for all nine HoZ reissues will share a uniform design (we've seen them already). Don't worry though, PPP will continue to use mosaics on the original Lord Chamberlain series.

May the best detective win.

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