Sunday, June 9, 2013


Looking for a summer read that has everything - mystery, romance, secrets, gorgeous settings?  Here ‘tis!  The Perfume Collector is the story of two vital, strong, fascinating women.  Each has an opportunity to tell her tale, one of which begins in the 1920s, the other in the 1950s.  We are witness to a remarkable journey through New York, London and Monte Carlo until at last their two stories converge.

Grace Munro is a former debutante from an aristocratic family.  Despite that she has little interest in society, fashion or appearances.  She has an intellectual bent and feels alone in the world in which she now lives with her ambitious husband, Roger.  She has one dear friend, Mallory, who vainly tries to change her to fit the expected mode.

When Grace receives a letter from a Parisian barrister telling her that a women she does not know has left her a posh apartment and a bulging investment portfolio, she is positive there has been a mistake.  Nonetheless, she has found some troubling information about her husband so she does a very un-Grace like thing and hops a plane to Paris to find out about this odd letter.

Then the author takes us back in time to the roaring twenties in New York City where we hear from Eva D’Orsey.  Even as a teen Eva is amazing.  She’s an orphan, a brilliant young girl who finds work as a housekeeper at a prestigious New York hotel.  She has a gift for numbers.  Eva meets two men at the hotel who will determine the course of her life.  One is a gambler, an unlucky one who takes Eva to Monte Carlo to count cards for him.  The other is a young man, Andre, the protégé of Madame Zed, a Russian woman who teaches him how to create perfumes.  He has a gift for this and eventually opens a perfume store in Paris.

With the help of an attractive French attorney Grace has been trying to solve the mystery of Eva, the woman who has left her such a generous legacy.  Precisely who was she and what is her connection to Grace?  To answer this question Grace is led to Andre’s now closed perfume shop.

The Perfume Collector is a bewitching story filled with carefully kept secrets, surprises,  and new opportunities.  Don’t miss it!

- Gail Cooke

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