I’m fascinated by the link between scent and memory and it’s one that I’ve often explored in writing. Because the olfactory centre is so close to the hippocampus, the seat of memory, perfume triggers vivid recollections in a way that sight and sound alone simply can’t. My first powerful perfume memory comes from early childhood when we living in the West Indies and my mother would come to kiss us goodnight before yet another expat cocktail party. She brought with her a waft of Nina Ricci’s Air du Temps, a scent I still associate with sheer distilled sophistication, plus an undertow of sadness because she was leaving. It was important, when creating my fictional heroine, Clara Vine, that I gave her the right perfume, so she wears an iconic Thirties brand, Bourjois’ Soir de Paris. Ironically, because Clara is not only an actress but a spy, she sometimes has to forgo her signature perfume because it identifies her, but the fruity concoction of rose, violet and jasmine is one I totally associate with Clara and I often wear it while writing. It’s way too sweet for modern tastes, but smelling it takes me straight into the past – this time not a real, but an imagined one!