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Book Review: Edward Trecom’s Nose

December 30, 2010

A few days ago I started reading the third of four books I recently picked up.  Edward Trecom’s Nose by Giles Milton was billed as a novel of history, dark intrigue and cheese.  It should have been presented as complete rubbish and an utter waste of time. 

The main character of the book was a cheese shop owner named Edward Trencom. He was the latest Trencom in a long line to own and operate his family’s London store.  What distinguished him from other Maître Fromagers was his nose.  It was uniquely attuned to the scent of cheese and possessed a nearly perfect dome at the top of the bridge.  This dome was described on countless occasion usually in connection with a long list of cheese that was never explored any deeper than their names. 

The plot followed Edward along as he explored his family history, lived his day to day life as a cheese peddler and tried to stay out of harm’s way.  The author used flashback chapters to explore what became of his predecessors.  They gave clues as to what was the true story behind his nose and why his life was in danger.  After the second ancestor I knew what the “secret” was and spent the remainder of the book frustrated at the main character who was denser than a block of pecorino romano.

As the book progressed and appeared it was going to get exciting it became apparent there were too few pages to tell the rest of the story.  There was no was Milton could chronicle how Edward beats back those who wanted him dead or figured out a way to reclaim his family’s lost throne.  I was right and in the final chapter the author gave up. He tacked on a half-assed ending turned it into the publisher and called it a day.

I rarely feel that reading a book is a waste of time, but this one falls squarely into that category.  I wished I had heeded the reviews that indicated it was a flop. If there was one good thing to say about this book, it was that it cost only $1 at Books-A-Million.  Clearly it was on the clearance rack for a very good reason.

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