Perfume and Literature : Inspiration in a Bottle

The National Post ran an interesting article last week on perfume and literature. Perfumed prose: On finding fictional fragrance inspiration in a bottle reviews the recent crop of books where scents play an important role: Joanne Harris’s Peaches for Monsieur le Curé, Sarah Churchwell’s Careless People, Margot Berwin’s Scent of Darkness, and Kathleen Tessaro’s The Perfume Collector.

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“Then as now, perfume marketing and press releases often read like fictions — fragrant flights of fancy constructed to capture the imagination with a good story. But olfactory auras around characters and plot also recur in literature, as seductive and suggestive alchemy of words and smells — from Ovid and Proust to Faulkner and Zola. To read the rest, please click here.”

One of my favorite novels in which scents influence the plot is Tom Robbins’s Jitterbug Perfume. It combines an intricate plot, humor and clever perfume references. Irresistible!

If you’ve read any of the novels mentioned in the article, how did you like them? Do you have any favorite works of fiction with a perfume twist?

Photography by ginnerobot, via Flickr, some rights reserved

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94 Comments

  • Melinda: The Perfume Collector is on my list of books I want to read!

    Chanel no 5 gets regularly mentions in The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery and in Sparkles by Louise Bagshawe you’ll find this lovely quote: “Chanel N°19, the unmistakable scent of money” July 30, 2013 at 7:34am Reply

    • Victoria: Onto my reading list they go! Thank you, Melinda.

      There is a quote mentioning Chanel in Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita. “Guerlain, Chanel No. 5, Mitsouko, Narcisse Noir, evening gowns, cocktail dresses…” July 30, 2013 at 8:08am Reply

      • Melinda: I have Bulgakov’s novel on my Classics Reading Challenge, so I will read it sooner or later. July 30, 2013 at 9:12am Reply

        • Victoria: It’s one of my top 5 favorite novels, and I’m even a bit envious of those who haven’t read it yet. Just imagining the pleasure of discovering it for the first time. 🙂 July 30, 2013 at 2:54pm Reply

          • Lavanya: Which are the others in your top 5, V? July 30, 2013 at 3:34pm Reply

            • Victoria: Thank you for asking!
              Ivan Bunin’s The Life of Arseniev
              Lev Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina
              Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary
              Erich Maria Remarque’s Heaven Has no Favorites

              It’s even harder for me to pick 5 favorite novels than 5 perfumes, so these are the ones I can read and re-read and still enjoy them even more. July 30, 2013 at 5:32pm Reply

              • Melinda: I have Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary on my classics reading list too! 🙂 nice! July 31, 2013 at 3:37pm Reply

                • Victoria: You’re in for a treat! I never feel bad these days about not having read certain classics, because the pleasure of discovering them for the first time is like no other. Plus, I understood Anna Karenina not at all when I first read it in school as a young teen. It was a good idea to read it when I was older. August 1, 2013 at 7:10am Reply

      • Steph: I bought that book last month and it’s just waiting for me to get around to it. It seems I shop faster than I can read. I love to get lost in a bookstore! August 2, 2013 at 3:30am Reply

        • Victoria: I do too! With the help of internet, my speed for finding the good books has only increased. No wonder that my reading pile is growing and growing. 🙂 August 2, 2013 at 7:24am Reply

  • george: I’m afraid I’m repeating myself from yesterday: Black Narcissus the film is made from a book by Rumer Godden of the same name. I have read the book but can’t remember how central the perfume is to the book, or whether it is even mentioned, but in the film it is a definitely of import. I keep on forgetting to smell Narcisse Noir, to see if it is an erotic blend that would be the olfactory equivalent of the kama sutra style art of the former harem that the nuns have their convent in. I did however read your review Victoria, and saw that it is quoted in Sunset Boulevard- “Black Narcissus, Narcisse Noir”. Because of the similarities between Sunset Boulevard and Black Narcissus, and the strong screenwriting tradition of that time of both Pressburger and Wilder, it is hard not to think that Wilder isn’t referencing Black Narcissus the film with that quote (and- of course- the perfume) Both book and film of Black Narcissus (but esp. the film) come highly recommended. Your blog entry also makes me want to re read the Oscar Wilde short stories I read when I was child. I can’t recall any evocative description of perfume, but if he didn’t he should have done as his rhapsodic style would have most suited it. July 30, 2013 at 8:59am Reply

    • Connie: I need to rewatch those movies, I’m not remembering those parts! And I had no idea Black Narcissus was originally a book- onto my reading list it goes! July 30, 2013 at 9:06am Reply

      • Victoria: I also didn’t know that, so it’s now on my list! July 30, 2013 at 2:53pm Reply

    • Victoria: That’s an interesting observation, and you’re probably right, it would be a fitting reference.

      I need to watch Black Narcissus and read the book. Thank you! July 30, 2013 at 2:52pm Reply

      • george: And thank you for your article! Upon further thought it is more striking to me how absent smell and scent perception is from a lot of literature I feel inspired to maybe write something heavily scent themed. Another book you might find interesting is The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon if you haven’t read it. I can’t remember if it has any perfume relation, but one of the charming aspects of the book is the way the author creates lists of things from her life, and their significance to her; it reminds me very much of the precursor of the sort of scent based fiction and memoirs that we are seeing nowadays. She has a beautiful writing style too. In fact it is not unlike your blog! July 30, 2013 at 5:55pm Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you very much, George! It’s a compliment that makes my day, because I adore Sei Shonagon. It’s sounds trite, but she really was ahead of her time. I can completely imagine having a coffee with her today and enjoying her sharp observations and comments. July 31, 2013 at 2:42pm Reply

  • Martha: In the past week I’ve read two popular fiction novels, Angelopolis and The Wild Beasts of Wuhan, that mention perfume. In Angelopolis, there is a short paragraph referencing Chanel No. 5 and Coco Chanel. And in The Wild Beasts of Wuhan, the female protagonist wears an Annick Goutal fragrance. Unfortunately, the author does not identify which Annick Goutal perfume the protagonist does wear. IMO, the reader ought to know which Annick Goutal blend is being used; this would add more authenticity and round out the character a bit more. July 30, 2013 at 9:16am Reply

    • Victoria: How frustrating! I agree with you, it would be great if the author named Annick Goutal perfume. July 30, 2013 at 2:55pm Reply

  • Scarlett: White Oleander by Janet Fitch has deeply haunting character associations with Penhaligon’s Violetta, L’Air du temps, Ma Griffe, and Obsession. July 30, 2013 at 9:40am Reply

    • Victoria: What an interesting combination of scents! Another book I haven’t read, so my summer reading list is expanding rapidly. July 30, 2013 at 2:59pm Reply

  • Marge Clark: I read practically every novel Rumor Godden wrote during the 60’s and early 70’s, but had no idea Black Narcissus was one of hers. From Wikipedia: 1939 Black Narcissus, a story about the disorientation of European nuns in India; the first of her books to be adapted for the screen, as the film of the same name in 1947; a radio adaptation was also broadcast in 2008. July 30, 2013 at 9:40am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m not familiar with her work, but the wiki entry was very interesting. July 30, 2013 at 3:00pm Reply

  • Jillie: As I was reading this, and thinking about perfumes and literature, I just suddenly remembered some lines in Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra” in which he describes the barge on which she is travelling, the sails being “so perfumed that the winds were lovesick with them”, and later that there is “a strange invisible perfume” wafting from it. I would so love to know what was used! Maybe lots of incense, musk and rose attar? July 30, 2013 at 9:43am Reply

    • Holly Dugan: I love that quote–her “strange, invisible perfumes”! Definitely something strong, since it fills the entire city with her scent and it draws Antony to her–rose and musk, for sure! Though maybe not frankincense–too many associations with the Catholic liturgy and with Reformation politics. BUT Shakespeare’s actually “borrowing” these lines from Plutarch, so perhaps? (Can you tell I teach Shakespeare?) July 30, 2013 at 12:08pm Reply

      • Jillie: How wonderful that you teach Shakespeare! As I get older, I realise more and more just how relevant he is to us, and how amazing that he wrote so concisely about the human condition, using beautiful poetry to do so. July 30, 2013 at 12:33pm Reply

    • Victoria: Holly is the expert on this. By the way, you might like to know that she has a great book out, The Ephemeral History of Perfume: Scent and Sense in Early Modern England. July 30, 2013 at 3:02pm Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: On my booklist! July 30, 2013 at 3:48pm Reply

      • Holly Dugan: Thanks for these kind words! July 30, 2013 at 3:49pm Reply

      • Jillie: Thank you, V – this is now on my list too! July 31, 2013 at 3:30am Reply

      • Steph: Very cool! On my list as well! August 2, 2013 at 3:36am Reply

    • Martha: There is a perfume by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz that is based on the scent used by Cleopatra to scent the sails on her barge (according to the DSH website). It’s called 1,000 Lilies. July 30, 2013 at 7:19pm Reply

      • Jillie: Thank you, Martha, that is really interesting. July 31, 2013 at 3:31am Reply

  • chiara: I don’t know if it counts as a work of fiction, surely it’s a work of art. it’s the song “Madame George” by Van Morrison, a collection of memories in a sweet and sour mood, with light hints of humor mixed to an atmosphere of deep nostalgia.
    “And that smell of sweet perfume comes drifting through
    The cool night air like Shalimar” July 30, 2013 at 9:46am Reply

    • Victoria: Totally counts for me! What a great line. 🙂 July 30, 2013 at 3:03pm Reply

  • Nicola: I think food, scent and literature are all bed buddies – they can scoop you up and carry you to far off places on their own or a heady mixture of all three…One of my favourite books and a really good film is ‘Like Water for Chocolate’ by Laura Esquivel – a deeply moving book or Revolution, a deep love that never dies and consumes you from within (easy tiger) and an emotional journey through food – Tita’s Rose Petal sauce say’s it all. If you havn’t read it or watched the film (Spanish with subtitles) I urge you to… Oh and needles to say, Patrick Suskind Purfume – I have to date read it 3 times over the last 16 years since I found it on a lonely shelf…x July 30, 2013 at 10:10am Reply

    • Victoria: You put it so well, Nicola, and I completely agree. No wonder that all three are such strong passions of mine.

      I saw “Like Water for Chocolate” ages ago, but the scene with Tita’s Rose Petal sauce still stands out in my mind. July 30, 2013 at 3:04pm Reply

  • Tamara: I just started on The Perfume Collector and I love it so far. The story is very evocative. July 30, 2013 at 10:45am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, good to hear this. I recently got it, so I look forward to reading it. July 30, 2013 at 3:04pm Reply

  • rickyrebarco: I loved, loved The Perfume Collector. It was so much fun reading how the perfume maker came up with his scents and the plot was a good one, too. July 30, 2013 at 10:48am Reply

    • Victoria: The Amazon reviews were pretty good too. Thank you for your vote of confidence as well. July 30, 2013 at 3:05pm Reply

  • Isis: Tom Waits may not be a novelist, but I’ve always loved the poetry in his songs. When I was a young teenager I was deeply in love with his “fumblin’ with the blues”.. a song that’s dark, moody, ultrasexy and full of weltschmerz and loose morals…. in it he sings “You know your perfume, well it won’t let me be.”. I always wondered what perfume might have inspired him, I wear it immediately. July 30, 2013 at 11:01am Reply

    • Victoria: I would have loved to know too… What kind of scent would inspire that? July 30, 2013 at 3:07pm Reply

      • Isis: I guess the obvious thing to say is that Tom had a lady-friend who used poison or opium. But I’d like to think that it was something I’d actually wear myself (poison kills me). I just found a sample of Ambre Fétiche and I am totally in love. This could be it too… it is really really sexy to me and the smokiness sort of fits the ‘the bartenders all know my name’-vibe. July 31, 2013 at 2:10pm Reply

        • Victoria: Ambre Fetiche fits that too for me. Another one is Serge Lutens El Attarine. I’m wearing it today, which is why it’s on my mind. July 31, 2013 at 2:43pm Reply

          • Isis: Ooeh I should try that then. I am about to order 5 samples from Lutens anyway, as I want to compare ambre fetiche to ambre sultan, and I also want to finally figure out why A La Nuit reminds me of Diorissimo and which I prefer (oh my life is so difficult..) July 31, 2013 at 3:57pm Reply

            • Victoria: Well, it’s a good dilemma to ponder. 🙂 August 1, 2013 at 7:08am Reply

  • Holly Dugan: I just reread Toni Morrison’s _Beloved_ and Denver, the daughter, is obsessed with a Lily-of-the-Valley cologne that is gifted to her mother: “Her mother had secrets–things she wouldn’t tell, things she halfway told. Well, Denver had them, too. And hers were as sweet. Sweet as lily-of-the-valley cologne” (45). July 30, 2013 at 11:38am Reply

    • Victoria: Did you enjoy the novel overall? I’m curious about it. July 30, 2013 at 3:09pm Reply

      • Holly Dugan: I did, though I think it is a novel that one has to read at the right time. It’s not an easy tale. I read it in college, and I didn’t really understand it (though I pretended that I did!) This time around I was really moved by it. Denver’s perfume reminds me of how Alyssa Harad talks about olfactory pleasure in _Coming to my Senses_–it can transcend even the most profound sorrow.

        Thanks for letting me blather on about Beloved (and for your fantastic blog)! July 30, 2013 at 3:48pm Reply

        • Victoria: No, thank you! I love discovering new authors. Because I read so much for work and research, sometimes I feel that I don’t get enough pleasure reading, so this thread is really an indulgence. Plus, everyone’s favorites are so interesting and tempting. July 30, 2013 at 5:36pm Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: There are so many mentions of perfume in litterature, too much to name them all! We all know about Proust, Zola, Balzac, Guy de Maupassant..all of them perfumelovers (French!)
    Also Austrian authors do love perfume: many mentions by Stefan Zweig, Joseph Roth, Heimito von Doderer (Quapp with her Bois des Iles!).
    Mme. Bovary perfumes her handkerchiefs with patchouly; K
    onsulin Buddenbrook smells of patchouly, and the Russian girl in ”Der Zauberberg” has an orange-perfume. And so on. To begin with the beginning: Helen of Troy in her room perfumed with ”thuon” (frangrant resin from a tree; Homer,Odyssey).(Fragrant oils are among the treasures of Odysseus).
    But a book in which perfume plays a role in the action? recently I read ”False Scent” by Ngaio Marsh: death by poisoned perfume! July 30, 2013 at 12:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much for an interesting list. I also remember another scent related passage from Mme Bovary, ” She looked at it, opened it, and even smelt the odour of the lining-a mixture of verbena and tobacco. Whose was it? The Viscount’s? Perhaps it was a present from his mistress.” July 30, 2013 at 3:11pm Reply

    • annemariec: Oh I’ll keep an eye out for that Marsh! I went through a Ngaio phase about a year ago but did not know about that one. I liked some of her stuff but her output is uneven (as you’d expect I guess, in a lifetime of writing genre fiction). Josephine Tey is my new enthusiasm. July 31, 2013 at 5:01am Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: You are so right! Some Marsh are annoying, but her best books can compete with higbrow literature. ‘Overture to Death”, ”Off with his Head”, ”Final Curtain” for ex. are masterpieces. ”False Scent” is not bad either (she is at het best describing the theatre milieu!).
        Thank you for mentioning josephine Tey, i never read her.
        Patricia Highsmith is uneven as well (laboured, confused sometimes), but her ”Strangers on a Train” is excellent.
        And what do you think of Dorothy Sayers?
        Do you read Dutch? in that case, Martin Mons is worth seeking out (or do you already know this one?) July 31, 2013 at 5:44am Reply

        • Cornelia Blimber: In the Marsh novels, the Fatal Woman always wears No 5. July 31, 2013 at 5:45am Reply

  • Lucas: I haven’t read a single perfume related (or with a small perfume plot) book but Perfume from Patrick Suskind July 30, 2013 at 12:32pm Reply

    • Jillie: What did you think of it, Lucas? I read it a long time ago, when it was first published, and perfume was quite a new subject for a book then; I admired it for that reason, but I could not like it as Grenouille was such an unpleasant character and this left a nasty taste with me. Not what I want if I am reading about my favourite subject! July 30, 2013 at 12:38pm Reply

      • Nicole: Aah, but the descriptive language when describing how perfume is made…priceless. I think this novel actually got me started on the road to enjoy the structure and work that goes into creating beautiful perfumes, and I read it over 20 years ago! July 30, 2013 at 6:54pm Reply

    • Victoria: That’s a classic! I read it in two days, since it was so engrossing. July 30, 2013 at 3:12pm Reply

      • theperfumeddandy: Dearest Bois
        Too true, I remember this novel so vividly and the sensation it created at the time of publication.
        Shakespeare of course is awash with references to ‘scents’ rather than perfumes, but from Cleopatra to Juliet we are left with an enduring sense of what women of the age (of the writing of the plays at least) smelt like.
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy July 30, 2013 at 3:26pm Reply

        • Victoria: So true about Shakespeare!
          “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
          By any other name would smell as sweet.” July 30, 2013 at 5:30pm Reply

  • Hannah: In Ansichten eines Clowns/the Clown by Heinrich Böll, the protagonist can smell over the phone. One of the characters (Monika) wears Cuir de Russie, which the narrator says is “much too sophisticated for her”. July 30, 2013 at 12:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s fascinating how this one Cuir de Russie reference also makes me imagine Monika’s character, even though I know nothing about her. July 30, 2013 at 3:14pm Reply

  • maggiecat: Amidst all these sophisticated literary references, I feel a little odd in pointing out that Scarlett O’Hara purchased and wore perfume and rouge (both quite daring for proper southern ladies) in order to snare her sister’s fiance, Frank Kennedy, into marrying her instead – all to save her beloved plantation, Tara! It worked, too… July 30, 2013 at 1:07pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oh good, one of the books I actually read out of all these great references. 🙂 I completely forgot about that part, but I remember that she also gargled with cologne to mask the scent of alcohol on her breath before meeting with Rhett Butler.

      And speaking of Scarlett O’Hara and Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable wrote that when he first met her, she was walking in a cloud of violet perfume. I don’t remember where I found this, so I can’t check the quote. I do remember that the perfume was of violet. July 30, 2013 at 3:24pm Reply

      • Jillie: Oh, Victoria, I can just imagine Vivien Leigh wearing Le Dix! July 31, 2013 at 3:37am Reply

        • Victoria: I wonder what perfume that was! July 31, 2013 at 2:43pm Reply

  • Alityke: Jilly Cooper always gives her racy female characters signature perfumes which amplify their personalities. I discovered Fracas, Narcisse Noir, Jolie Madame and Ma Griffe through her beautiful descriptive writing on them.

    Not highbrow literature but if you’re looking for well written, funny summer reads, you can’t go wrong with Jilly and her bonkbusters featuring Rupert Campbell-Black July 30, 2013 at 2:58pm Reply

    • Victoria: I love non highbrow literature, especially when I was to relax and have fun. I’ll be sure to check Cooper too. July 30, 2013 at 3:16pm Reply

    • theperfumeddandy: Too true… I now many people prefer Riders, but I always felt Rivals was the best of the bunch.
      Of course Ms Cooper started her literary life writing rather good pastiches of Jane Austen.
      Funny old fragrant world.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy July 30, 2013 at 3:28pm Reply

  • Lavanya: Jitterbug Perfume has been on my list forever- I bought the book when I was just getting into niche perfume, 6 or so years ago. I even started it but somehow it dropped off my list. Must remedy that.

    I can’t think of any perfume related fiction off the top of my hat that I’ve read recently- But Museum of Innocence- one of my favorite novels of all time-talks of objects and memories of those objects, in a manner very similar to meditations on perfumes (Orhan Pamuk loves Proust and it shows..haha..:)) July 30, 2013 at 3:40pm Reply

    • Victoria: Same thing happened to me. Angela of NST commented on it positively, and then I just never got around to reading it for a while. But once I’ve started, I couldn’t put it down.

      I loved Pamuk’s Istanbul, which was so poignant and captured so well the atmosphere of the city. His other works I’ve had difficulty getting into for some reason, but I’ll give it another go. July 30, 2013 at 5:34pm Reply

  • Emma M: Fascinating article and great post – I particularly liked the quote from Joanne Harris about buying perfume like she buys books – if that means acquiring lots of both then I’m exactly the same!

    As to perfumes in books, Angela Carter is one of my favourite writers and her books often have distinctly olfactory reference points in their descriptions – the identical twins in ‘Wise Children’ can be told apart only by their perfumes – if I remember right, one wears Shalimar and the other Mitsouko. ‘Nights at the Circus’ is full of earthy, human and often unpleasant odors, which is kind of fitting as Carter isn’t always an easy read.

    I like to find perfume references unexpectedly in novels; one book I’m currently reading is Evelyn Waugh’s ‘Vile bodies’ and one of the minor characters, a young Italian butler, powders his face and wears clouds of Nuit de Noel. (And of course the other book I’m reading at the moment is Alyssa Harad’s ‘Coming to my Senses’, which I won here! I’m enjoying it immensely.) July 30, 2013 at 5:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: I also love finding scent references (and spot perfume bottles on tv!) Not sure if you’ve read Sologub’s Little Demon, but it’s full of Guerlain references (the perfume is used for seduction!)

      Glad that you’re enjoying Coming to My Senses. 🙂 July 30, 2013 at 5:38pm Reply

  • stina: My passion for perfume is relatively recent, but I did have one or two perfumes that I wore on-and-off in my younger days.

    One of them was Vent Vert – thanks to Ian Fleming!

    One summer in grad school I had acquired a few of the Ian Fleming paperbacks that were the basis for the James Bond movies. That may have been the summer it was so hot in Chicago; I didn’t have a/c at the time so when I couldn’t sleep because of the heat and humidity, I read James Bond novels.

    In one of them (can’t remember which), 007 is drawn by the cool, fresh, green fragrance worn by a very proper young Englishwoman – Vent Vert.

    Maybe it was the contrast between the description of this cool green perfume and the heat I was suffering through… but I bought a bottle of Vent Vert (the third reformulation, with the polka-dot cap) and wore it for years.

    My (second or third) bottle of VV has been honorably retired and I’m exploring the whole world of niche and classic perfumes now, but I’ll always think fondly of Vent Vert – thanks to Ian Fleming and James Bond. July 30, 2013 at 6:32pm Reply

    • Victoria: I absolutely love this story, and you make me want to dig out my bottle of Vent Vert. I liked it in all iterations, but I haven’t smelled it recently. July 31, 2013 at 2:44pm Reply

  • Nicole: Jilly Cooper always has characters associated with scent in her novels. Penhaligon’s Violetta, Fracas, Quercus and Mitsuoko spring to mind.
    And Janet Evanovich has a character (Ranger) who is always associated with Bulgari’s Green (The Vert) shower gel. July 30, 2013 at 6:50pm Reply

    • Victoria: Another reason to read her novels. Thank you, Nicole! July 31, 2013 at 2:45pm Reply

  • annemariec: Many thanks for the link! Great read.

    Raymond Chandler, mentioned in the article, knew a thing or two about perfume, as well as scents and smells generally. Philip Marlowe’s ability to tell a cheap chypre (try saying that the times very quickly) from an expensive one partly helps him solve the mystery. That’s in The Lady of the Lake, one of my favourites. The setting of the novel is partly based around a high-end perfume company. July 30, 2013 at 7:04pm Reply

    • Lavanya: ok- i’m going to have to read this..Thanks A!! hopefully knowing the bit about the cheap chypres won’t spoil my enjoyment of the book? ..:) July 30, 2013 at 7:19pm Reply

    • Lavanya: You know this is such a coincidence. I realized that I own 1 book by Raymond Chandler. I just checked my bookshelf and saw that it was Lady in the lake..:) a childhood friend of mine had gifted it to me in 2004. And now I am finally going to read it thanks to you..haha July 30, 2013 at 7:47pm Reply

      • annemariec: Oh goody! It was meant to be. I hope you enjoy it. Look out for the cool and beautiful secretary, Miss Fromsett. She is a masterpiece! July 30, 2013 at 11:13pm Reply

      • annemariec: And to whet your appetite, here’s an excerpt from Chapter One:

        “The cream of the crop seemed to be something very small and simple in a squat amber bottle. It was in the middle at eye height, had a lot of space to itself, and was labeled Gillerlain Regal, The Champagne of Perfumes. It was definitely the stuff to get. One drop of that in the hollow of your throat and the matched pink pearls started falling on you like summer rain.” July 30, 2013 at 11:15pm Reply

        • Lavanya: Oh yes- I did read that paragraph..:D . I think I’m on Chapter 3 now July 31, 2013 at 12:15am Reply

        • Lavanya: Oh yes- I did read that paragraph..:D . I think I’ve just reached Ch 3- Lavery’s house..:) July 31, 2013 at 12:17am Reply

          • Lavanya: oops sorry about the double post- didn’t realize the first comment went through July 31, 2013 at 12:31am Reply

            • annemariec: Doubly good! July 31, 2013 at 4:18am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m with Lavanya, it sounds like a must read. Several people mentioned Chandler to me before. I’ve read some of his pieces in bits here and there, but I need to read more. And Marlowe is another author I don’t know. Thank you, Anne-Marie! July 31, 2013 at 2:46pm Reply

      • Lavanya: As I’ve just discovered, Philip Marlowe is the detective in Chandler’s books..:) July 31, 2013 at 2:51pm Reply

        • Victoria: Aha! I realized it as I was just reading the wiki entry. By the way, I was interested to discover that he collaborated to write a screenplay for Strangers on a Train, a Hitchcock movie (one of my favorites).

          See, that’s another reason I love these threads. I always learn so much! July 31, 2013 at 3:00pm Reply

  • Katy McReynolds: “Discovery of Witches” has evocative and beautiful scent references. A classic Dior scent is identified with the protaganist’s Mother, the scent of the heroine is described as autumnal and honeyed. The hero smells of cinnamon and spices. Deborah Harkness, the author and Alyssa Harad got together and decided that our heroine smelled like Botrytis and the hero like Messe de Minuit. So of course I ordered samples and me and my fellow booksellers were in Heaven as we all tried these gorgeous perfumes and discussed the wonderful All Souls trilogy! Alchemistry, witches, vampires, oh my! July 30, 2013 at 11:11pm Reply

    • Victoria: Alyssa has a great ability to perfume characters (and to describe scents). Plus, I know that she loves Botrytis, and she wrote so passionately about it in her book. July 31, 2013 at 2:48pm Reply

  • Elena: The Crimson Petal and the White is one that comes to mind that hasn’t been mentioned yet. One of the main characters, William Rackham is a perfume magnate and I can still recall a scene which takes place at a lavender field. I recommend it despite a disappointing ending. July 30, 2013 at 11:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Elena! A story about a perfume magnate already sounds curious. 🙂 July 31, 2013 at 2:48pm Reply

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