'Elegantly written, clever and immensely charming.' Literary Review.
Edward Trencom has bumbled through life, relying on his trusty nose to turn the family cheese shop into the most celebrated fromagerie in England.
This world is turned upside down when he stumbles across a crate of family papers. To his horror, Edward discovers that nine previous generations of his family have come to sticky ends because of their noses.
When he investigates further, Edward finds himself caught up in a Byzantine riddle to which there is no obvious answer.
Like his ancestors, he is hunted down by rival forces whose identity and purpose remain a total mystery.
Trapped between the mad, the bad and a cheese to die for, Edward Trencom's nose must make a choice - and for the last nine generations it has made the catastrophically wrong decision.
The Opening Page.
16 July, 1969.
When Edward finally stirred from his sleep, he found himself in a room that he thought he recognized. He rolled over; opened one eye. Yes, yes, just as he had hoped. Satisfied that he was indeed in familiar territory, he pulled up the blanket and allowed himself to drift gently back into the world of sleep.
He was caught in that blissful state of non-being that lies somewhere between slumber and wakefulness. He was aware of his legs, but only as weights. He could feel his hands but only their warmth. Yet his nose was alert to the fact that something in the here and now - in this very bedroom - was causing him a most agreeable, most delectable sensation. Yes, indeed. His nose was twitching and tingling as it detected a smell - a smell of cheese that was pleasantly familiar.
For more than two months, Edward had lain in a palsied state in his bedroom at Number 22, Sunnyhill Road. He remembered nothing of being brought back to England. The boat journey to Italy, the plane trip home - the details were cloudy and intangible, as if they belonged to the world of .dreams. Although he had been wide awake throughout the trip, his glazed expression had reflected the absolute vacancy of his inner head. The monks of Mount Athos had at first thought that he had suffered from some sort of stroke - that he was beyond redemption. A few of them said that he was afflicted by delusion and pride - that sins had gripped his mind in much the same way as demons can possess men's souls.
Edward had still been delirious when Elizabeth brought him back to Streatham and tucked him up in the comfort of his own bed. He did not seem to recognize his wife. He had not even known he was home. He didn't speak; he spent much of his time asleep. It was as if his very lifeblood had been plunged into a hibernant state and that nothing but the warmth of summer would rouse him from his slumbers.
The doctors diagnosed that he was suffering from the severe aftershock that (they said) often followed a trauma. Their only prescription was sleep and rest. Complete relaxation - that was what Edward Trencom most needed.
Now, seven weeks after being helped into the marital bed, Edward's slowly ticking brain was stirred by a smell that he was sure he recognized. 'Yes!' Sniff, sniff. 'Yes - yes!' He could feel his nasal passages clearing themselves. There was a tingle in his olfactory bulb. His head seemed filled with the thick scent of goats, milk-sheds and wild smilax. 'Oh - mmn - yes!' And then, quite without warning (and preceded by a long loud yawn), a single word popped out of Edward's mouth, 'touloumotyri'.
'Don't read this book: it will only make you fat. Giles Milton's descriptions of cheese in Edward Trencom's Nose are so tempting and so unrelenting that by the end of the book you'll be eating époisses for breakfast and snacking throughout the day on double gloucester.