The Missing Musk

Bob Gilbert


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Hodder & Stoughton
11 May 2023
ISBN: 9781529355970
320 pages

From the publisher

'Utterly fascinating and intriguing' Neil Ansell, author of The Last Wilderness

'A captivating dive into the mysteries of nature' Lee Schofield, author of Wild Fell

Detective stories from the natural world, from the author of the Wainwright and Rathbones Folio Prize-longlisted Ghost Trees

In 1913 all the musk plants in the world stopped smelling. Unable to resist the lure of this mystery, Bob Gilbert turns detective, determined to find the truth in the tale. Mixing history, memoir, science and nature writing, The Missing Musk takes the reader on a journey of discovery, uncovering the truth behind six mysteries and myths from across the natural world.

From the darkest corners of Britain's churchyards to Scotland's Pentland Hills, Bob travels the length of the UK, seeking answers to questions that have intrigued him throughout his life. In search of the musk's long-lost fragrance, he discovers a possibly murderous story. Investigating the true origins of 'star jelly' leads to encounters with unexplained sightings and substances. Faced with the urban myth-like stories of mosquitoes thriving in the London Underground, Bob digs deeper.

Motivated by the curious, unexplained phenomena found in wild places and on urban streets, Bob peers into microscopes, delves into horticultural archives and chases a glimpse of the strange 'water bear', finding that, when it comes to mysteries, the joy is found as much in the search as in the answer it leads you to . . .

'A joyful celebration' Lev Parikian, author of Into the Tangled Bank

'A perfect mix of whodunnit and wonder for the natural world' James Aldred, author of Goshawk Summer