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A Nose for Mystery and Murder: The Essence of Malice, The Sniffer, The Emperor of Scent, The Secret of Chanel No. 5, and Perfume: The Story of a Murder

16 May

Break out the blood hounds this week, the library picks blog is tracking works with the scent of mystery.

The Essence of Malice
by Ashley Weaver


The Essence of Malice is Ashley Weaver’s fourth book in her Amory Ames Mystery series starring a wealthy British Amateur detective who solves crimes in Europe in the 1930’s.  In The Essence of Malice, Amory tries to unravel a mystery when something smells suspicious in the death of a famous Parisian perfumer and learns that all is not what it seems amongst his family, who are struggling over the control of his perfume empire.  I especially enjoyed the twist ending.  Amory’s husband is a bit of a cad and this, like the other novels, deals with the suspicions and strife that occasionally pop up in their relationship; although this made me mildly dislike Miles, I found it refreshing to see a less than perfect spouse since so often in cozy mysteries the detective’s partner is a paragon of virtue. You can also check out the earlier books in the series Murder at the Brightwell, Death Wears a Mask, and A Most Novel Revenge.  The fifth book in the series, An Act of Villainy will be available September 4 and revolves around a mystery at a theater.

The Sniffer – Season 1

The Sniffer is a Russian mystery series that Hoboken Library Resident Card Holders can stream from Hoopla.  “The Sniffer” is both blessed and cursed with an extraordinary sense of smell which helps him solve mystery and thwart crimes, but also plagues him in his private life.  If like me, you enjoyed Hugh Laurie’s portrayal of the brilliant, but irritable protagonist in the series House, than The Sniffer’s prickly detective should appeal.  There are eight episodes in season one so it is perfect for a long rainy weekend binge.

The Emperor of Scent: A Story of Perfume, Obsession, and the Last Mystery of the Senses
by Chandler Burr
The Emperor of Scent is about a scientist, Dr. Luca Turin, who sought to unravel the mystery of what allows us to smell.  Dr. Turin believes that it isn’t the shape of molecules that allows us to smell, but the way the molecules vibrate that allow us to distinguish odors, but he is thwarted in pursuit to publish and promote his theory.

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
by Patrick Süskind
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is a historical fantasy novel which was originally published in German as Das Parfum.  The book follows a boy that though born without a scent himself, can perfectly smell the world around him.  This leads him on a quest for the perfect scent, which results in an obsession that leads to murder in order to distill the most pristine of odors.  You can also checkout the film adaptation from BCCLS libraries.

The Secret of Chanel No. 5: The Intimate History of the World’s Most Famous Perfume
by Tilar J. Mazzeo
Everyone has their favorite scents; I love Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Aunt Caroline’s Joy Mojo, which never fails to brighten my day.  Tilar J. Mazzeo unbottles the mystery of one of the most beloved fragrances of so many in The Secret of Chanel No. 5.  The work moves from Coco Chanel’s success as a fashion icon, through the years to the scents increasing acclaim, and continued popularity even today when shelves are packed with celebrity endorsed perfumes.  It is available in print, but Hoboken Library Patron can check it out right now as an ebook or digital audiobook from Hoopla!

Written by: Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

Say Goodbye to Downton: A Selection of Books, DVDs, and Digital Music in Honor of the Final Season of Downton Abbey

17 Feb

If like me you are a fan of Downton Abbey, you are probably feeling both excited and a bit sad about the end of the show.  Now is the perfect opportunity to watch some of your past favorite episodes and enjoy Downton Abbey related books and music.  So raise a cup of proper English tea and toast the end of the era of the British Manor House and an iconic TV show.

Available at the Hoboken Public Library

Downton Abbey, Seasons One through Five on DVD and BluRay


The story of the aristocratic Crawley family and their staff became a phenomenon.  The drama started in 1912 and moves forward through history to its finale in 1925, with explorations into the complex issues of gender, class, and politics that still resonate today.  The stories of Downton Abbey’s characters are suspenseful, often heartwarming, and sometimes heartbreaking.  Check out the DVDs or BluRays to catch up on any episodes you missed before the finale.

The World of Downton Abbey, by Jessica Fellowes


Fellowes looks at the production of the first two seasons as well as some of the history behind the story.  The book includes production sketches and photographs from the set.   Get a behind the scenes look at your favorite show.  Also available from other BCCLS libraries are several of Jessica Fellowes’s works focusing on Downton Abbey including her recent work, Downton Abbey: A Celebration, which includes an episode guide to the first five seasons and interviews with the cast.

Maggie Smith: A Biography, by Michael Coveney


Find out about the career and the personal life of one of Downton Abbey’s glamorous and enigmatic stars in this biography.  Besides her role as the Dowager Countess, Violet Crawley, on Downton Abbey, Dame Maggie Smith has also stared in the Harry Potter films as the magical Minerva McGonagall and in the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel films.

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle and Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey, by The Countess of Carnarvon


The Countess of Carnarvon, who lives at the real life Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle), discusses the true stories of the women who lived there based on scrapbooks and diary entries.  Like Cora Crawley, Lady Almina was also the daughter of a rich industrialist who married an English noble.  Her second work focuses on Lady Catherine, another American, who married Lady Almina’s son.  Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey is also available as a digital audiobook from Hoopla.

While We Were Watching Downton Abbey, by Wendy Wax


Wax inspired by her own love of the series and the huge fandom that has sprung up around it, wrote this charming novel about a diverse group of residents in Atlanta who get together to watch the series each week.  This sweet story about friendship should appeal to devotees of Downton.

Available to Hoboken and other BCCLS Card Holders from Hoopla

The Manners of Downton Abbey


This PBS documentary gives a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to get the Edwardian details just right at Downton Abbey.  Historian, Alastair Bruce, brings his expertise as the historical advisor to the show and hosts this look at details affecting everything from how the Edwardians dressed to what they ate.  It includes interviews with some of the cast members.  Also available on DVD from BCCLS libraries.

Music From and Inspired by Downton Abbey


Hoopla has a variety of music from the soundtrack of Downton Abbey or inspired the show.  This includes Downton Abbey-Original Music from the Television Series; Downton Abbey – The Ultimate Collection (Music From The Original TV Series) performed by the London Chamber Orchestra; Downton Abbey – The Essential Collection; Christmas At Downton Abbey performed by the Budapest City Orchestra, and The Music of Downton (A tribute to Downton Abbey) performed by L’Orchestra Numerique.  Any of these would be perfect for streaming if you are planning a special party to celebrate the finale.  If you are looking for refreshments to serve consider borrowing The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook by Emily Ansara Baines available from BCCLS libraries.

Making Masterpiece: My 25 Years behind the Scenes at Masterpiece and Mystery! on PBS, by Rebecca Eaton


You can listen to the digital audiobook of Rebecca Eaton’s account of her work as an Emmy Award-winning producer on PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery!.  It is also available in print from BCCLS libraries.  Masterpiece Theatre is the longest running weekly prime-time drama series in the US.  Besides drawing from her experience she spoke with writers, directors, and others who helped bring the compelling dramas to life.  Learn about what went on behind the scenes with Downton Abbey, Sherlock, Upstairs, Downstairs and other Masterpieces!

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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