Muchembled’s is a vivid, intense and provocative gallop through early modern times. There’s probably too much defecation for most tastes, and while some fart jokes are laugh-out-loud, a lengthy chapter devoted to them feels like being locked in a boys’ boarding school dorm. Stopping at the 19th century also seems to be cutting off Smell’s nose to spite its face, especially given the tantalising titbits the author offers from the present day. Too many lines of thought end too abruptly, not least the narratives around the social implications of smell, which would have had a brilliant corollary in the fragrant class divides of this year’s Oscar-winning film Parasite. Which is a shame, as there’s little here to turn your nose up at.