Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Smell--part deux

Those who know my books know that I don't write horror--just good historical mysteries, some with a touch of humor and romance. However I'm now in the middle of a horror story... bring in scary music.

It's called The Smell from the Purse. (raise level of scary music)

Two weeks ago I was in Morocco and they specialize in the loveliest leather you've ever seen--bright colored slippers and purses--hot pink, orange, lime green, turquoise. So I had to have one, even though I had been to the tannery and seen and smelled the process. Can you believe that the pelts are cleaned in vats of lye and pigeon droppings? I'm not making this up. There is an actual profession of keeping pigeons for their droppings in Morocco. And the bag smells as if it had spent its early life in such an environment.

And it wasn't as if I hadn't been warned. My friend Katherine Neville (she of those wonderful books The Eight and The Fire) knows Morocco well. The leather will smell, she told me. But did I listen? Noooo.  I saw this really cute purse, in this years bright orange and I bargained for it. It was only when I had it back in the hotel room that I noticed the lingering odour. So I sealed it in a plastic bag until I got home.

Then I asked for help on Twitter and Facebook. Got lots of wonderful advice--crumpled newspaper, baking soda, kitty litter, leaving out in the sun... all seem to be working. But I think the best tip was from a friend on the trip. He said "spray it with your favorite perfume so that if you smell anything, it will be that."  So I'm about to decide whether it should be L'air du Temps or Fidgi or Anais Anais  ... you see I have old fashioned taste in perfumes.  I'll let you know whether this works or not. I'm determined not to throw the purse away.

1 comment:

  1. Rhys, surround the bag crumpled newspaper with vinegar inside a box or plastic container . . . but maybe not letting the vinegar contact the leather.
    Careful about the perfume, though, as it will overwhelm those around you if the bag decides to retain the fragrance at full-strength . . . .