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Good Reads  Natural History  General Natural History

The Missing Musk A Casebook of Mysteries from the Natural World

By: Bob Gilbert(Author)
352 pages
Publisher: Sceptre
The Missing Musk
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  • The Missing Musk ISBN: 9781529356007 Paperback Mar 2024 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 5 days
  • The Missing Musk ISBN: 9781529355970 Hardback May 2023 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 5 days
Selected version: £19.99
About this book Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

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, and by what these stories tell us about our relationship with nature, 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.

Customer Reviews


Bob Gilbert is the author of Ghost Trees and The Green London Way. He has written a newspaper column on urban wildlife for the last twenty-five years, and is a contributor to TV and radio. Bob has also been a long-standing campaigner for inner city conservation and is patron of The Garden Classroom, a charity that promotes environmental education in London.

By: Bob Gilbert(Author)
352 pages
Publisher: Sceptre
Media reviews

"A brilliantly researched investigation into some of nature's most enduring mysteries. Never less than utterly fascinating and intriguing"
– Neil Ansell, author of The Last Wilderness

"The Missing Musk is a joyful celebration of intelligent curiosity. Absorbing, fascinating, and a positive invitation to explore the natural world around us"
– Lev Parikian, author of Into the Tangled Bank

"Impeccably researched and endlessly fascinating, The Missing Musk is a captivating dive into the mysteries of nature"
– Lee Schofield, author of Wild Fell

"Meticulously researched, thought-provoking and enlightening, The Missing Musk is a perfect mix of whodunnit and wonder for the natural world. A truly unique, fun and inspirational book that dispels common myths without detracting from the wonder of its subject"
– James Aldred, author of Goshawk Summer

"The Missing Musk is not really about finding answers, but challenging the systems that govern our thinking [...] we are asked to celebrate the "confusions and contradictions" of nature, acknowledging what we cannot know while valuing all perspectives, from the metaphysical to the biological"
– Kate Simpson, Times Literary Supplement

"Brimful of fascinating observations and beautifully written, this is a wonderfully engaging book"
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