Summary and book reviews of Edward Trencom's Nose by Giles Milton

Edward Trencom's Nose

A Novel of History, Dark Intrigue, and Cheese

By Giles Milton

Edward Trencom's Nose
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  • Hardcover: Apr 2007,
    320 pages.
    Paperback: Jun 2008,
    320 pages.

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Book Summary

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 “accidents” that seem to befall every generation of the curd-loving family.…

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 was no ordinary nose, but one long, aquiline, and furnishing the trademark circular bump over the bridge---the very same nose bestowed on all the Trencom men. It was extraordinary, able to discern the composition, maturity, and quality of cheese---and the Trencom noses had sniffed, whiffed, and judged the very best cheeses of the world.

But on an ordinary day, Edward’s world is turned upside down when he stumbles across a crate of family papers. To his horror, he discovers that nine previous generations of his family have come to sticky ends because of their noses. When he investigates---despite his grandfather’s caveat never to look into the origin of his nose---Edward finds himself caught up in a Byzantine riddle to which there is no obvious answer. And like his ill-fated 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.

Giles Milton’s deliciously comic debut novel is a mouthwatering blend of Tom Sharpe and P. G. Wodehouse. From the noble Roquefort to the piquant Èpoisses, every page is permeated by the pungent odor of cheese.

Read chapter one below, or click here to open a PDF file of the first three chapters.




Chapter One

3 September 1666

Humphrey Trencom rolled over and sniffed at the air. He was caught in that blissful state of nonbeing 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 vigilant nose was already alert to the fact that something in the here and now – in this very chamber – was not quite right.

In the time it took to trigger an alarm in his somnolent brain, Humphrey allowed his thoughts to drift back to the world of sleep. He had been dreaming of roasted capons and honeyed parsnips, of succulent woodcock and jellied eels. His sleepy reverie had transported him to the great banqueting hall of Whitehall Palace, where he was the seating partner of King Charles II. His brain had failed to register that this was as unlikely as it was improbable. Instead, it was ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

Giles Milton marks his fiction debut with an olfactory shaggy dog story that meanders happily through three hundred years of history and ten generations of Trencom males, who are linked by an uncommonly distinguished and sensitive nose, a love of cheese, and a habit of dying early from unnatural causes.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Full Review Members Only (1277 words).

Media Reviews
Le Soir (Belgium)

A first novel with an unexpected theme and packed with adventure. It is erudite and funny - the more so if you happen to be a fan of toulomotyri, or any other sort of cheese.

Le Figaro Magazine (France)

Milton's novel is testimony to the excellent health of British literature .. a formidable achievement.

Le Figaro Litteraire (France)

Edward Trencom's Nose is a hymn to the glory of cheese .... Told through a series of flash-backs ... it's told with a lightness that is guaranteed to avoid indigestion.

Le Temps (Switzerland)

In his first novel, Milton demonstrates his well mastered skill for intrigue, suspense and adventure - all overlaid with British humor of the best sort ... [He] deploys a veritable treasury of erudition and narrative suspense.

The Daily Telegraph (UK) - Elena Seymenliyska

But while Milton's fiction debut shares the light touch of his popular histories (Nathaniel's Nutmeg; White Gold), he is better at telling stories than making things up. Edward is a charming chap in the Bertie Wooster mold, whose company is distinctly moreish. Yet away from the fug of his burping Stiltons and farting Roqueforts, he is a phlegmatic sleuth in a Byzantine plot with not enough bite.

The Guardian (UK) - Ian Sansom

Comic novels are difficult to write: any old halfwit can produce 400 pages of stinking high seriousness, but it takes a real wit to manage 400 pages of mild, fragrant good humour. Edward Trencom's Nose is a whimsical wheel of a book: creamy, light, powdery, with a nice bloomy rind; recommended with a sauvignon blanc.

LoveReading

The pungent odour of cheese will waft off the page in what for me is the debut novel of the year so far. [A] deliciously written comic novel that brings together three quite disparate ingredients – history, cheese and mystery.

Publishers Weekly

The international intrigue is a little thin, but Milton's amusing depiction of the world of cheese fanciers and their quirky personalities should delight even those who aren't fond of dairy products.

Popmatters

[A] highly entertaining novel that follows in a long tradition of other highly entertaining but largely inconsequential books about British eccentrics who get themselves in rather a muddle and somehow make it through. P.G. Wodehouse made a long a career out of just such books. Milton's own contribution to the recipe is his passion for historical oddities. This addition still doesn’t turn Edward Trencom's Nose into an enduring work of literature, but it does make it worth reading in addition to all the others.

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Beyond the Book

All About Cheese

Cheese can be made from the the milk of any mammal capable of being milked. Simply put, cheese making is the process of removing water from milk. The simplest method is to add an acid such as lemon juice or vinegar directly to the milk; an alternative method uses bacteria to create an acid in the milk; the bacteria also provides flavor and character to the finished product. The acid causes the milk protein to separate into curds (milk protein solids) and whey (liquid). The ...

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