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Edward Trencom's Nose: A Novel of History, Dark Intrigue, and Cheese

3.17  ·  Rating details ·  560 ratings  ·  116 reviews
Situated on London's Foster Lane, there is a quintessentially Georgian, redbrick house with a green door bearing the sign trencoms, 1662. It's the home of the Trencom family's cheese store, a generational establishment begun by Humphrey Trencom that now, 303 years later, is run by Edward Trencom. Quaint though it may seem, it bears witness to a strange occurrence of ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 17th 2007 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published 2007)
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Average rating 3.17  · 
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 ·  560 ratings  ·  116 reviews

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Start your review of Edward Trencom's Nose: A Novel of History, Dark Intrigue, and Cheese
I had the feeling that this was labelled a comic novel simply because it didn't fit conveniently into any other category. There is some history and plenty of cheese - a cheese shop is one of the principal settings in the novel, but 'dark intrigue' is over egging it. This could be a thriller for people who don't like to be frightened and wouldn't go near the edge of their seats without a safety harness on.

Although largely set in London at the end of the 1960s occasional chapters zap back in time
It was ok, indeed. Milton clearly has a sense of humor and the idea was... interesting. But it was not intriguing neither unexpected. Being Greek and aware of the actual history, I found no difficulty to predict what would happen or the supposedly subversive end of the story.

It's a book that you have absolutely nothing to lose if you don't read it at all but still, you could find it amusing, even fun if you read it -as I did- on the beach.
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Delightful and quirky novel of a family who has run a cheese shop since the 1600's. Each generation seems to produce a person with an extraordinary nose who can sniff out the smallest details preferably about the cheeses but all kinds of other odors also. There is some dark mystery in the family as many of these men have met their demise under curious and outright murderous circumstances. Enter Edward, owner of the cheese shop in the 1960s. He leads a fairly regimented life centered on the ...more
Feb 22, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: foodies - solely for reference
quirky characters mixed up with a half-baked plot about revolution and muddled heavily with irrelevant Greek history lessons. edward trencom owns a successful cheese shop in london, complete with a vast cellar of rare and delectable preserved dairy products from around the world. what makes his shop so great is his prominent and highly recognizable nose, namely its intense sensitivity to smell and his ability to uncover the cheeses that taste the best.

his store undergoes an unavoidable
C. Janet Austin
Oct 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I thought it was actually a different clever little book... something a bit out of the norm but intriguing indeed! I did not get bogged down in the cheese names but rather just followed the story & have been pleasantly pleased with the entire experience :-)

i actually bought the book partly because i felt sorry for it being on the clearance rack and each week when I went to my bookstore & saw all the copies were still there, so I read the inside cover & decided to give it a go... I am
Jun 20, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like cheese, mysteries and/or Wodehouse
Possibly not a book for the lactose intolerant, unless they like tormenting themselves.

It's enjoyably written, with some nice darkly humorous moments, characters that are generally likeable and an author that obviously loves words as much as he loves the components of the story.

And cheese.
Jul 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: foodies, anglophiles, mystery lovers, lazy readers
If you were the kind of person to call a book a 'romp,' then you'd waste no time in calling 'Edward Trencom's Nose' one. I'm not that kind of person. I WILL call it a quirky, fun novel---kind of a cross between 'Tristram Shandy' and Susskind's 'Perfume,' but jollier than both.
Edward Trencom is the last of the famous English cheese-purveying Trencoms. Like his forbears, he has a passion for cheese and knows everything about them. He can tell you where any given cheese was made, when, what the
Dec 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
London-based journalist Milton is my favorite author. He is known for writing about exploration and travel history. This is his first novel. The story is that of the nine generation Trencom family cheese shop in London and an ancient Byzantine riddle. As the mystery unravels, the characters search for meaning and purpose in life in the attempt to discover their true genealogy. It's an expertly told, fascinating story.
Apr 06, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
The most entertaining thing about this book were the cheese metaphors I came up with while I read it.

It started with a weak "cheesy", developed into "emmentaler - not exciting and not classic, but still quite good on pizza", briefly climaxed with "Gorgonzola - excellent, though you don't want to look at the blue parts too closely", and then it went downhill to "cheese skewers - the cheese is fine for the evening, but what are the barely alive pickles doing there?" until it finally reached
Jul 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
I was charmed by this book. It wasn't gripping or profound, but it was comfortable, dryly witty, clever and a bit unusual. I like books that don't grab you by the gut and drag you through the story and this was definitely one of them. NOTE: If you are conservative, as I am, you might want to be warned that there is some very integrated married sex--not graphic, not titillating. It is used to drive the plot and define the characters. There is one non-married sexual relationship which was again, ...more
Dec 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
The book can be summed up by a quote from one of the secondary characters "'I must confess, you've lost me,' said Barcley after a long silence. 'I'm not quite sure what you mean. You're trying to tell me that this disaster - the flood - is in some way linked to you nose?'"

Women in the book are mothers, dumb or of sexual interest... Even the famous nose only makes one appearance on a woman- the matriarch of the clan who elevates the Trencoms from nobodies to the ridiculous white saviors they try
MB (What she read)
Re-reading for the 2nd time. I love this odd book. (I think you'd have to have an weird sense of humor to enjoy it me.) It is quirky, unique, and witty! In some ways it reminds me of some of Joan Aiken's adult novels like Blackground or The Trouble With Product X.
What a strange book. A strange idea as well - a tale of a man who has a nose for cheese, a fantastic nose indeed. But strange happenings are occurring, and he loses his sense of smell (about the same time he discovers sex), becoming mixed up with a missing heir, a murder, various disasters, and most of all, cheese. Lots and lots of cheese. Clever, amusing, strangely compelling. But how this concept was sold to a publisher, I will never know.
Jul 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Why: Sale rack at the book store and we are flying to Montana on Monday
Review: Delightful book. Michael was so enthralled that he is reading his non fiction books as well. One is about white slaves in the Arab world. We are eating more cheese.
Aug 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Well now, I think the subtitle is nearly perfect. This is unique. If smell is the sense that best brings back memory, then this should be memorable book... and it is. Read it.

Only flaw is a slightly predictable ending.
Oct 07, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Historical fiction and cheese. What more can a girl ask for? Lots of intrigue...not necessarily a mystery but more a family quagmire. So many cheeses and I barely knew any. Makes you very hungry to read, at least I was.
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If, like me, you love odd, bizarre, and extremely unconventional stories then this is for you. Otherwise, don't try it.
Dec 15, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Went into this book somewhat dubious , but it was an utter delight to follow the remarkable trencomes trough history and pray Edward avoids the curse. It has also helped my knowledge of cheeeeesssse
Jun 15, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
This book was fun! Some repeated overuse of specific words, but a very interesting and funny story.
David Frankstone
Aug 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to David by: Laura
I liked this book very much. I learned a good bit about cheese and appreciated an inventive plot.
Nov 10, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unusual-fiction
The title gave the indication that this was no ordinary, run-of-the-mill read and it lived up to that promise.
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
Edward Trencom is an ordinary guy with an extraordinary nose, just as his ancestors. That's why they do such a great job in the cheese business. But a mystery surrounds his family, he just doesn't know it yet... The novel moves back and forth between Edward's life and how he tries to unravel the mystery and the earlier centuries and the lives of his ancestors. Following this route the reader slowly gets to know more about, well first of all cheeses but secondly the family secret.

I would not
Jan 07, 2020 rated it liked it
This book was a little...wait for it...cheesy. I suppose that's the point, but it can't seem to decide what kind of book it wants to be. Part of it is comedic, satirical, what with all the cheese references. Part of it is a mystery/crime novella, part of it borders on historical fiction, and none of it really works all that well. It treats sex like a very delicate subject to be danced around, but describes violence and murder in often gory detail. At least it's a quick read, although the ending ...more
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
I started this novel with high expectations since I was impressed with Nathaniel’s Nutmeg. The novel is quirky though not comic as described. There are several food and history lessons that I enjoyed. But the narration is a little chaotic, scattered and even tedious at points. The mystery that one wishes to clarify drags at bits and one almost waits for the end, which is also rather anticlimactic.
Jonathan Basterfield
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
As I often do, if I'm in a bookshop and can't find what I want, I don't allow my self to leave without choosing a random book, and this was the one, totally enjoyed it from cover to cover, almost.... Just a few times I found it a little hard going, all those cheese names (and I often had to stop and Google them!)
James Lancaster
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
And not only is Giles Milton captivating as a writer of history his first novel beat all my expectations. The story is well crafted, the plot amusing and yet somehow believable and all in all I could not put it down. Bring on many more please.
Brandi Key
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
I just could not get through this one.
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very clever & fun read!
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
What an odd book! Delightful and funny and full of more cheeses than I knew existed. I really enjoyed this one.
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Aquiline. Too much aquiline. I am not sure the cheese + historical fiction bit worked for me.

The intrigue was surely not well executed. This could have been a much better book if the mystery element was sustained.

Funny, but not half as funny as promised.

I do need to read Nathaniel's Nutmeg next.
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British writer and journalist Giles Milton was born in Buckinghamshire in 1966. He has contributed articles for most of the British national newspapers as well as many foreign publications, and specializes in the history of travel and exploration. In the course of his researches, he has traveled extensively in Europe, the Middle East, Japan and the Far East, and the Americas.