• Year Published: 1985.
  • Pages: 263.

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer Summary of Chapters


The author dedicates these chapters to introducing Grenouille, his birth, his mother’s execution, and his subsequent loneliness. He is given over to a cloister where he gets the name Jean-Baptiste.

The oddities of the child continue growing with him as he develops. Eventually, he starts apprenticing as a tanner. Here, he contracts and survives anthrax – making him invaluable to his new master.

His walks in the city, which enables him to come alive – all the while following scents and smells with his nose. With time, he realizes that he can produce entirely unique fragrances given the opportunity.


Watching the fireworks along the Seine, Grenouille catches the finest, most delicate scent of all. He follows it and finds it coming from a teen girl pitting plums. He kills her and leaves the body after being sated by her great smell.

The event makes him believe he is destined to grow into the greatest perfumer in the world – both because of his accurate memory and delicate scent.

He goes to Giuseppe Baldini – a master perfumer that Grenouille yearns to ape. Baldini, who has been on the decline and breached several professional bounds of conduct, gladly welcomes him.

At the end of it all, Grenouille begs for work from Baldini who promises to think about it.


Baldini eventually buys Grenouille’s apprenticeship from the tanner and Grenouille starts working for his new master. Due to this move, the house of perfumes experiences a rise in sales on account of Grenouille’s original creations.

Although he first starts the trade using his nose instead of records and measurements, Grenouille is forced to go the traditional perfumer way – and write out every new formula before trying them.

Baldini also teaches his new apprentice the essences used in perfumes – knowledge that is as yet foreign to Grenouille. During this time, he seeks to learn essences, extracts, and tinctures from plants – if only to know how to distil odors and scents into stable essences. And so he is introduced to the world of distillation and all that pertains to it.

However, he contracts syphilitic smallpox – which throws Baldini into a panic. The master tries to get new formulas from his dying apprentice, but Grenouille keeps silence. Instead, he asks about other options for

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