Sunday, 9 December 2012
Bitesized Not Quite Reviews Of Perfume-Themed Books: No 1 - The Rottweiler By Ruth Rendell
So it has taken me almost nine months to read this book and finally finish it. In truth I think I would have made speedier progress - in or out of the bath - if it had been more engrossing. I am a big fan of the thriller genre as a rule: I devour all those Kathy Reichs with "Bones" in the title, for example, and equally enjoy sensationalist TV programmes of what ex-Mr Bonkers used to take pleasure in calling the "forensic prostitute" genre, on the basis that the killers' victims were very often ladies of the night.
Not so in The Rottweiler, as the murderer is dubbed. He does murder young women - a whole clatter of them indeed - and takes an item of jewellery from their dead body as a trophy. Curiously, he doesn´t do any biting, just garotting, so the name of the book is a bit of a misnomer. And by the same token, though the novel does indeed have a perfume theme - central to the MO of the killer, no less - it doesn´t make its appearance till about Page 320, by which point I have long since lost interest in the otherwise lacklustre characters and plot. Which is a shame, as the revelation of the perfume connection is dark and deeply disturbing when it comes.
Yes, from Page 1 I was keeping an eagle nostril out for references to fragrance, and apart from a few desultory mentions of so-and-so wafting this or that unspecified scent before them, there is very little for a perfumista to get their teeth or nose into. I do recall one character sporting a tuberose scent by Jo Malone (I didn´t know there was one - on the face of it this sounds like an olfactory contradiction in terms!), but that is about it, till you get past Page 300, as I say.
So I would say give this book a miss, belated shocking perfume-themed denouement and all. I like thrillers, and I usually like the work of Ruth Rendell, but this book signally fails to grab me by the jugular.