Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

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

A Love Song to the Broken: Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

9 May


One of New York Times bestsellers “Milk and Honey” by Rupi Kaur, is an outstanding understatement. If read with non-judgmental eyes – meaning that you do not go into reading it with any preconceived notion that it is not poetry, let alone be that it’s any good. Poetry can mean a lot to one and nothing to another. To my own discretion, I find that it has a powerful affect when it’s looked at through emotions.

The opening lines to the book are:

“my heart woke me crying last night / how can i help I begged / my heart said / write the book”

Already, a tone is set, a mood is shaped, and an opinion is made. Whether that be a good or bad one, the way one chooses to take in the rest of the book, in my opinion, will be determined by how they interpret those lines.

“Milk and Honey” is not only a collection of poetry and prose about survival, it’s also a love song to the broken. Yes, the broken. Not just the broken-hearted, or the misunderstood, or even abused. It speaks to the broken. Whatever that means to the reader is their truth.

This book calls to everyone, with its four chapters labeled, “the hurting”, “the loving”, “the breaking”, and “the healing”. Each chapter is based upon different brokenness and therefore serves to speak toward a specific purpose. My favorite chapter is “the breaking”.

Also, if you notice most of the poems have no titles, they are all mostly “titled” according to whichever chapter they are associated with. Just as well as there are no capital letters within the book. Neither the title nor the author’s name is capitalized. This can be seen as a grammatical editing choice or a purposeful deterrence that is supposed to signify how one’s hurt or version of brokenness may not be relatable to another. Hence, everyone’s brokenness is neither less nor more important than the other.

It’s the kind of book, if you ever took writing courses in college, that slightly makes you resent yourself for not coming up with it yourself. Of course this comically ironic realization is my own personal view and opinionated emotion projected on it. It’s raw and uncensored-ship are just as the drawings within the book. No sign of an eraser used. Just streamline drawings – just as a streamline of consciousness.

Alluding to one of my favorite proses in this collection comes from the chapter “the breaking”. The opening line of said poem can be found on page 97 and it reads:

“did you think i was a city / big enough for a weekend getaway”

The rest of the poem goes onto juxtapose a city with a person. The imagery and the tone is what sets up this beautiful contradiction of metaphors having the capability of being literal depictions of what makes up one’s apparatus. But of course this is just my own emotional connection to this particular prose, and as the poem goes on, there are other particular depths within me that it reaches.

There isn’t enough I could say about this collection of poems and prose. All I can say is that it’s merited more than just a quick glance.

Written by
Sherissa Hernandez
Adult Programming Assistant

%d bloggers like this: