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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

Films from Kanopy are now available to be borrowed by Hoboken Public Library Resident Card Holders!

18 Apr

Due to popular demand, we are now offering Kanopy for our library patrons!  Hoboken Public Library Resident Library Card Holders now have access to more than 30,000 Films from Kanopy.  Library card holders can access Kanopy and sign up to start streaming films instantly by visiting  Films can be streamed from computers, televisions, mobile devices or platforms by downloading the Kanopy app for iOS, Android, AppleTV, Chromecast or Roku.  Sign up should be fast and easy, but if you need help setting up an account or getting an app, please let us know.

The films include award-winning documentaries, rare and hard-to-find titles, film festival favorites, indie and classic films, and world cinema. With the motto of “thoughtful entertainment,” Kanopy provides films of unique social and cultural value; films that are often difficult or impossible to access elsewhere, and programming that features diversity.

You have five checkouts per month.  Below are five choices I’m planning to checkout this May that I think will appeal to my fellow book worms.


I’m looking forward to watching Neruda, directed by the award-winning filmmaker Pablo Larrain and staring Gale Garcia Bernal, who I am a huge fan of from his role on Mozart in the Jungle. Bernal stars as a policeman chasing Pablo Neruda, one of the most significant poets of the 20th century.  The film was nominated for a Golden Globe.

This Beautiful Fantastic
Beautiful Fantastic

Described as a “modern day fairy tale,” I’m curious to check out This Beautiful Fantastic. This is a story of a young aspiring children’s book author who finds unexpected friendship with a widower living next door, after she is forced to transform the garden in her apartment building’s backyard or face eviction.

Eleanor’s Secret (Kérity, la Maison des Contes)
Eleanor's Secret

Eleanor’s Secret from Academy Award-nominated director Dominique Monfery, is the animated adventure about a magical library where characters from children’s books classics are able to leave their pages and come to life. It is available in the original French or dubbed in English.

How to Publish Your Book

One thing that comes up a lot in the Hoboken Public Library’s Writer’s Groups are questions about the basics of getting a first book published.  How to Publish Your Book, part of The Great Courses provides 24 informative lectures from Jane Friedman, a publishing industry expert about everything from prepping your manuscript, reviewing contracts, and even marketing your book.

Dickinson: The Life and Work of Emily Dickinson
Photograph from

Emily Dickinson is one of the most beloved American poets; I’m curious to learn more about her life in 19th Century New England in Dickinson, a short documentary from 2014.

What films or documentaries are you planning to check out from Kanopy?  Share your recommendations in the comments!

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