Timothy Schaffert is among the legions of authors who aren’t,I thinknearly as well known as they should be…He writes novels of great tenderness and intelligence.–Emily St. John Mandelauthor of Station Eleven A Gentleman in Moscow meets Moulin Rouge in this stylishsexy page-turner about Clementinea queer American expat and notorious thief of rare scentswho has retired to Parisonly to return to her old tricks in hopes of protecting the city she loves when the Nazis invade in 1941. Clementine is a seventy-two year-old reformed con artist with a penchant for impeccably tailored suits. Her life of crime has led her from the uber-wealthy perfume junkies of belle epoque Manhattanto the scented butterflies of Costa Ricato the spice markets of Marrakechand finally the bordellos of Pariswhere she settles down and opens a legitimate shop bottling her favorite extracts for the ladies of the cabarets. In 1941as the German’s stranglehold on the city tightensClem’s perfume-making attracts the notice of Oskar Vossa Francophile Nazi bureaucratwho comes to demand Clem’s expertise and loyalty in his mysterious play for Hitler’s favor. Clem has no choice but to surrender fully to the conbut while she knew playing the part of collaborator would be dangerousshe never imagined it would be so painfully intimate. At Oskar’s behestand in an effort to win his trustClem recounts the full story of her life and lovesthis time without the cover of the lies she came to Paris to escape. Complete with romanceespionagechampagne towersand haute couturethis full-tilt sensory experience is a dazzling portrait of the underground resistance of twentieth-century Paris and a passionate love letter to the power of beauty and community in the face of insidious hate.
The Perfume Thief
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