Saturday, February 8, 2014


“Certainly the incident was unusual. What were your next steps? You examined the room, I presume, to see if the intruder had left any traces—any cigar-end or dropped glove or hairpin or other trifle?”

“There was nothing of the sort.”

“No smell?”

“Well, we never thought of that.”

“Ah, a scent of tobacco would have been worth a great deal to us in such an investigation.”

Arthur Conan Doyle
The Adventure of the Naval Treaty
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes


Anonymous said...

I've been addicted to old mystery books lately! The ones I've been burning through lately are ones by Ellery Queen. The ones from the 40s and 50s I find are the best. Of all the ones I've read, I don't think there's been one where he doesn't mention a perfume by name or at least a fragrance. As a vintage perfume collector it's fun to be able to grab the one he mentions and dab some on while I read.

Avery Gilbert said...


Thanks for the excellent lead!

That reminds me of The Maltese Falcon, where Dashiell Hammett attributes effeminacy to Joel Cairo (played in the movie by Peter Lorre) by frequently referencing the “chypre” scent that hovers about him.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read the Maltese Falcon yet. It's the next in line. I have a collection that includes that and the Thin Man. Of course I love the movies but know I'll probably love the books even better. Also (finally) read Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep. It was so much grittier than the movie ever came close to. Yep, I'm sucked in! And I don't miss modern references at all. I think maybe I'm just a really old soul. :-)
- Melissa -

Avery Gilbert said...

Anonymous Melissa:

I can't believe you mentioned The Big Sleep. You just took the blog post out of my mouth! I hope to put it online when I get a free minute today.

Another reason to like The Maltese Falcon is that it's set in San Francisco.