Patrick Süskind's novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is about the genius Jean-Baptiste Grenouille who has no smell of his own. He kills countless women, driven by his desire to create a superhuman perfume he can use on himself.
Jean-Baptiste Grenouille was born in a marketplace in Paris. He cannot see well, but has a keen sense of smell. After both the wet nurse Bussie and the monk Father Terrier refuse to care for Grenouille, Father Terrier brings the child to Madame Gaillard, who gets paid to take care of orphaned children.
Grenouille grows up with Madame Gaillard, a woman who takes in unwanted children in exchange for money. Madame Gaillard takes Grenouille to the tanner Grimal after she no longer receives financial support for his care. At Grimal's, Grenouille performs hard physical labor.
In Paris, Grenouille gets to know a variety of new smells for the first time. One of them is the scent of an innocent girl he meets in the city. He is fascinated by her smell. Grenouille wants to possess the scent. He commits his first murder by killing the young woman.
One day Grenouille is commissioned by Grimal to make a delivery for him. He is to take leather to the perfumer Giuseppe Baldini. In the perfumer's workshop, Grenouille manages to figure out the composition of one of the most successful fragrances at the time. He asks Baldini if he could start working for him. After a short period of consideration, Baldini buys Grenouille from Grimal.
Grenouille learns the basics of perfume making from Baldini and helps Baldini's perfumery by creating new fragrances that are very successful. Previously, Giuseppe Baldini had not been able to build on his former successes in perfume production. With the help of Grenouille's skills, the business is once more successful.
Despite the techniques for preserving scents that Grenouille learns, he does not succeed in preserving all the scents he wants to possess. This realization causes Grenouille to fall ill. The information that there are other ways to preserve scents in the city of Grasse ensures his recovery. He decides to leave Paris and Baldini. Baldini issues him a journeyman's certificate under various conditions and notes down numerous perfume recipes before Grenouille leaves.
On his way out of the city of Paris, Grenouille realizes how good it is for him not to be surrounded by people and their smells. He arrives at the m...