Edward Trencom’s Nose
Prepare yourself for olfactory gastronomy in the cheese department. Milton’s first novel provides the brain with stimulation of an extraordinary kind, particularly centred on the most unusual nose of one Edward Trencom. We discover that the purveyor of some of the finest cheeses from all corners of the globe has a family lineage which has been documented since the Great Fire of London.
There is a mystery attached to the demise of the eldest male in each of the previous nine generations, and Edward finds that the solution may lead him along similar paths. When his olfactory senses start to become unreliable there are fears for the future of his business and personal life.
Giles Milton’s descriptive novel takes us through a tour of history and cheeses together with some smells we might prefer to avoid and, although offering an enjoyable tale, the plot is rather far fetched.
- Cathy Kemp
Edward Trencom is the tenth-generation proprietor of Trencom’s cheese shop in London; with cellars full of the world’s finest cheeses and a royal appointment, the shop is known far and wide. The Trencoms themselves are known the world over, as well, for their famous noses which are able to discern where and when a specific cheese was made, and even the cow which provided the milk for it. They are also known for the distinctive appearance of their noses: long, aquiline, with a circular bump on the bridge. These noses made Trencom’s famous, and they also have caused trouble in every generation. Beginning in 1666, with Humphrey Trencom’s fateful voyage to Constantinople, up to 1969, when Edward Trencom realizes it is indeed odd that the Trencom males all suffer ghastly deaths abroad—in Greece, usually—the tale of the Trencom nose unfolds.
Giles Milton, known for his non-fiction writing (Nathaniel’s Nutmeg) is witty, Wodehouse-like, and very wryly British in his fiction debut. Though the international intrigue may be far-fetched, Milton’s matter-of-fact recounting of Edward’s adventures as he meets a mysterious stranger, which then leads to a desire to learn more about his family history, and in turn to a very dangerous trip abroad—to Greece, no less—keeps readers engaged and entertained. There’s a lot of (cheese) name-dropping and some well-placed ribbing of the snobbery inherent in the artisan cheese industry, to boot, so it’s best to read this with some snacks handy, and I’m not talking about Velveeta on a Ritz.
- Helene Williams