Perfume: The Story of a Murderer - Patrick Süskind Boring, at least for me, but I can see why people think it is well executed. The main character, Jean-Baptiste is totally lacking in emotion, and the story line breathes with the same meticulous clear step by step relating of the events. It all starts in Paris with the birth of Jean-Baptiste near the Cimetière des Innocents. He has no odor. None whatsoever, but his sense of smell is exemplary. This is the whole crux of the problem. The entire book circles around this dilemma.

Paris in the 1700s was s-m-e-l-l-y! This smelly city is perfectly depicted, but it was not enough to make the book interesting for me. Later, Jean-Baptiste travels through France and visits wonderful places in Provence; one town in particular is Grasse, famed for its perfumes. This city is not well portrayed. Neither are the landscapes he travels through. But that is not the point of this book. There are murders - 26 young virgins to be exact! This is a "murder mystery", where you know who is the perpetrator of the crimes. Look at the title, this is no spoiler! This is a book of fantasy. It does have a message, but it is all very contrived. I enjoy neither fantasy nor fictional murder stories, and that you must do to enjoy this tale.


I plan to also read Pure. Both start at the environs of Cimetière des Innocents and the stench of Paris. A figure named "Jean-Baptiste" is the prime protagonist in both. Crime is a central theme of both, but that is where I hope and believe the similarities end. One is pure fantasy, the other is steeped in historical detail. At least that is what I have been led to believe.