Lashings of confusion: why a debut crime writer has found a steamy new audience

Readers eager to buy David Jewell’s gritty novel have been directed to bondage erotica by a US writer with the same name

Name: David Jewell.

Age: 62.

Appearance: Bald, gritty copper from the north-east of England.

Occupation: First-time novelist and former policeman (bald, gritty etc) from the north-east of England. His book, Death Rattle, has just been released.

Good for him. How’s it going? Pretty well. There is just one problem.

What? Thanks to Goodreads briefly attaching a review to the site of an American author, also called David Jewell, the two have become confused in the public mind. People trying to buy the British writer’s book on Amazon were directed to works by the other David Jewell.

Does that matter? The American Jewell produces a very particular type of book.

Give me a clue. It’s in the titles: Kiss of the Lash; My Wife, My Slave; Teach Me To Submit! ...

OK, OK. I get it. Raunchy stuff. Bondage erotica is a term he might prefer.

How does the British Jewell feel about the confusion? Heis trying to see the upside. “Maybe the other guy’s readers will order my book,” he told Chronicle Live. “I could build a large American readership. I’ve already had a new Twitter follower from a group called Domination Sites.”

This sort of confusion must happen a lot. Of course. Just ask John Lewis, the bloke from Virginia who gets bombarded every Christmas by Twitter messages praising his seasonal advertising; or US oncologist Donald Trump, who has been dogged by his famous name for decades.

It could be annoying, I guess. That has certainly been the case for the two Jessica Ishaks who live close to each other in Sydney and, even worse, share the same birthday – 11 April, 1993. They have had each other’s bills sent to them and one was stopped from voting because of the mix up. One of them, though it is not entirely clear which one, is now considering changing her name by deed poll.

There must be a funny side, sometimes. Winston Churchill managed to confuse the philosopher Isaiah Berlin with the songwriter Irving Berlin. In 1944, Irving was invited to lunch at Downing Street, but Churchill thought it was Isaiah and was a little taken aback to learn that he believed his greatest contribution to the war effort had been to compose I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.

What’s the solution to name confusion? Discreet use of the middle initial can help. Educationist David L Jewell, author of such page-turners as Common Terminology, Abbreviations and Symbols for Therapeutic Recreation, does not seem to get mixed up with the author of Prisoner of Lust.

Do mention: Death Rattle.

Don’t mention: Getting Swatted.

The GuardianTramp

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