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Foreign locations, exotic perfumes

Mystery will entrance reader

BY KATHY HABEL

FOR THE FREE LANCE–STAR

A GOOD mystery is always a treat for a gloomy afternoon.  It is even better when the mystery meanders from ancient Egypt to modern-day Paris.  “The Book of Lost Fragrances” combines intrigue with a touch of history and a lesson in the art of making exotic perfume, a bit of education mixed with the proverbial whodunit.

Jac L’Etoile and her brother, Robbie, have inherited a heavily mortgaged perfume business located in Paris.  Each has a different idea on how to save part or all of the business.  Jac wants to sell off a few of their signature perfumes.  Robbie is convinced that there is a secret book with the formula for an ancient perfume first made for Cleopatra.  The scent was discovered in an Egyptian tomb by a family ancestor who brought the shards of an ancient perfume bottle back to Paris. The essence was believed to contain paranormal qualities allowing the receiver to view past lives.

Robbie disappears, leaving

a dead body behind.  The race begins to clear his name and to give the bottle with its special qualities to the one person who could best guard it, the Dalai Lama.  The reader is led thorough the ancient underground system in Paris, once a dumping ground from ancient graveyards, to a reception honoring the Dali Llama.

The author’s research shines through.  The background that She provides gives the reader with an insider’s look at the perfume industry and  a lesson on the takeover of Tibet and attempts by the Chinese government to wipe out an ancient religion.  Her description of the underground world of Paris is so vivid that the reader can almost smell the damp and decay.  To enhance the reading experience, a glossary at the end of the book provides more information if the reader chooses to continue.

If a fascinating mystery with many twists and turns is one of your joys, you can’t go wrong with “The Book of Lost Fragrances.”

Kathy Habel  is a freelance reviewer  in Spotsylvania County.

THE BOOK OF LOST FRAGRANCES

By M.J. Rose

(Atria, $24, 384 pp.)

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/books/2012/03/22/foreign-locations-exotic-perfumes/

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