The Story of A Murderer

eBook - 2013
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Follows an odorless baby found orphaned in Paris in 1738 as he grows into a monster obsessed with his perfect sense of smell and a desire to capture, by any means, the ultimate scent that will make him human.
Publisher: New York : Vintage International, 2013.
ISBN: 9780804152976
Characteristics: 1 online resource (255 p.)
Additional Contributors: Woods, John E. - Translator

Related Resources


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

liljables Jul 23, 2017

How did it take me so long to read this novel?! Perfume is certainly not for everyone, but it ticked many boxes for me: it delivers gritty, unromantic historical fiction with a dash of magical realism and an utterly captivating anti-hero.

Perfume reminded me of a couple of other patently "not for everyone" novels. Firstly, it uses a narrative structure that I've only encountered once before, in Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White: the narrator often breaks the fourth wall and acknowledges that the book's readers are living in a more modern era than the story being told. For some reason, this delights me to no end. Secondly, the dispassionate delivery of this story about thoroughly unlikable characters reminded me of Donna Tartt's The Secret History. And finally, Grenouille's character could have inspired the main character of John Burnside's The Dumb House, a deeply troubling novel about a psychopath who conducts experiments on children to determine whether language is innate.

ezhurbin Mar 23, 2016

I find this book extremely overrated. The story has an interesting premise, but very quickly losses vitality and becomes too dragged out, especially in the exhaustive descriptions of perfume ingredients and steps withing a process. All characters are underdeveloped and ,frankly, boring. The protagonist/villain is devout of any personality and simply evil for the sake of being evil. There are other literally villains who are evil without reason (ex. Fantomas), but at least they have some qualities like terrifying, repulsive, elegant, sadistic, fascinating, etc. This villain is suppose to be monster and an evil murderer, but he is so flat and not notable, that he leaves no mark of his existence on a reader. The best word to describe this book is tiresome. I wish i didn't waste my time reading it!

Oct 26, 2015

Historical fiction? Thriller? Magical realism? You may not be able to pin a genre on the tale of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, but you'll certainly enjoy the ride!

Jun 17, 2015

Started well, but got too weird for me. I finished it, but wasn't interested in the last half of the book.

WVMLStaffPicks Dec 07, 2014

A seductive and macabre tale of murder in 18th century Europe. A man's obsession with the scent of a woman takes him far beyond the boundaries of love and sanity. A masterpiece, artfully written and rich in historical detail.

KCLSLibsRecommend Apr 17, 2014

Set in 18th century France, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille uses his extraordinary sense of smell to become one of the greatest perfumers of all time. Smells are beautifully described and brought to life for the reader. Grenouille is however obsessed with only one thing- capturing the essence of certain desirable young women. Creepy and fascinating!

Feb 09, 2014

Whoever wrote this above description really hit the nail on the head. This book has hauntingly moved up the ranks to be one of my utmost favorite reads. The movie is good but the book... I simply cannot categorize it. It is so factally correct. Patrick Suskind is a literary genious. I not just read this book numerous times - I savoured every line.

TulsaTimeTraveler Feb 04, 2014

This book is fascinating, but also quite disturbing. The main character has an extremely heightened sense of smell, and he uses this ability to attempt to capture the scent of virginity. The book describes the fascinating world of Parisian perfumeries in great detail, but the character's mission and the ending of the book thoroughly creeped me out.

Jan 09, 2014

This is a very well written book. The first 3/4 I thoroughly enjoyed and found somewhat plausible. But the last 1/4 was both implausible and grotesque. Overall worth reading, but not your average story.

Aug 29, 2013

I read this book because it is on the BBC100, which I am trying to work my way through. It was certainly very well written, and the author expertly draws you into the world he creates. However, the plot dragged a little for me, and I cared very little for the ending.
The most irritating thing about this book, however, was the font in which this version is published. It gave me a headache just looking at it! Miles more annoying than Comic sans. I think that is the real reason I was not a fan of this novel, to be honest.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at CPL

To Top