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The Fresco Mystery | 1st Edition Paperback | Autographed Copy!

Original price $8.95 USD
Current price $6.95 USD

Well folks, as we all know, an Epic scent really deserves a most Epic story, and so I give you The Fresco Mystery!

 Are you ready for some adventure this summer? The Fresco Mystery is jam packed with intrigue, history, mystery, folklore & fun! Join Douglas Smythe once again and his crew of relic junkies in yet another madcap adventure as they once more set out to save the world!

"It's very intriguing, it's very entertaining, it is really good and it reads like a movie! It really, really does! I hope someone in the entertainment industry reads this because this is going to make a really great movie." ~ Mark Szorady

Welcome To The Phoenix Shaving Universe!

If you are new to these parts you may not know that for many of our scent creations there is an ongoing story line, Fresco is no different in that regard. In the past the stories are released as part of the adverts leading up to the drop or included at the bottom of sales pages. Lol, it's this placement that is probably the reason why many don't know about this fact.

"Douglas has done an amazing job with The Fresco Mystery...Just buy it!"~ Andy Wilmer, The Opinionated Brit Podcast

But if I'm being  honest, after almost 10 years now of writing it we now have a pretty solid cult following. Not only do these folks enjoy fragrances and traditional wet shaving but also, like me, sci fi/adventure tales! It is with these fine folks in mind that we decided to do the recent episode right...and publish a book. Yup, I wrote a book, a book called The Fresco Mystery. Now I know that we also released a book with Hotel Cecil, but that's more of a down home, novella booklet deal. The Fresco Mystery is the real deal. Coming in at almost double the page count in Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol', this latest installment is for the true fans of the Phoenix Shaving Universe! Like all our tales, it is built on layers, some obvious, some designed for those with eyes to see, but I promise, if you have been following the story, you will absolutely LOVE The Fresco Mystery! 

First Time Hearing This?

If you managed to miss all the saga installments up till now, check out these sales pages and scroll down! High Jump 47, Agharta, Copalli (true story), Doppelganger Black (short story), ESP, John Frum, Mega Flora, Terra Preta, Hotel Cecil, and Organism 46b. Sadly, other installments over the years have gone the way of the dodo with discontinued scents. Fret not though, for there are also elements of the PAA Universe embedded in label art and adverts that also visually propel the story; clues, easter eggs, anagrams and other curiosities to be discovered by he/she who puts the effort in! Update: Latest installment just released, Droid Black & The Oracle Coin!  [currently only available in ebook]

A Tale Of Two Cubes

Truth be told, I wrote The Fresco Mystery in 4 days, but it was actually quite a production. Timing and geography was a necessary part, and this concept definitely bled into the storyline I am now realizing. You see, I needed some inspiration to get myself into the right head space, so I packed a bag and drove almost 8 hours to Zion National Park. There, fueled by crappy Holiday Inn coffee, I locked the door and got to work. While everyone else in town that Easter Weekend was enjoying the great outdoors, I stayed holed up, and highly caffeinated, with pen to paper, or rather fingers to keyboard.

Zion, much like Old Spice Fresh, also holds a special place in my heart. The last time I was there was September 2001, almost ten years after discovering Fresh and only a few days after 9/11! It was a VERY strange time to be doing a road trip, as you can imagine. The mood was very, um, shall we say out of the ordinary? Much like then, this past Easter in the National Park while Covid 19 was still on the loose and mask mandates still in place, it was also very paranormal to say the least. So for someone like me, strange and atmospheric events meant conditions were just perfect to write in! I mean, this was a resurrection of sorts too, no? If you want depth, you must layer. This holds true in perfuming as well as in story-telling. So please read with this in mind and a willing suspension of disbelief.

Fun Fact: Though not mentioned outright in the story, Evil CUBE's name is Tyrian! This could come in handy in Shave Trivia (not a real thing) or Scrabble.

Pure Classic SciFi/Adventure Pulp...not Shakespeare in the least.

The Fresco Mystery was pieced together in my mind during that long drive out to Utah and fleshed out once there. I was taking elements of everything around me and using them; Easter Sunday, the Religious Cathedral like atmosphere of Zion, the name Fresh and the Spanish equivalent, Fresco, and the stack of archeology and folklore books I had brought with me. The only time I left my room was for breakfast and dinner where I would do my research old school. Meaning utilizing the books I brought along. As hikers and outdoorsmen sat around me in the cafes with their gear loudly reliving their days adventures over beers and burritos, I sat unnoticed in the corner quietly, pith helmet on head, and once again looking like that awkward high school freshman with his bookbag spread out over the table in study hall. In this surreal environment I would take notes and fantasize, then head back to my room like a masked hermit!

"What do Flash Gordon, David Lynch, and Pee-Wee Herman have in common? Absolutely nothing, so far as I know! And yet this madcap trinity seems the only imaginary mashup that can adequately encapsulate the hair-brained sci-fi/adventure that is Douglas Smythe's 'The Fresco Mystery'. Douglas writes with so much verve, such blatant gusto, such unrepentant jouissance that - well, I'm left flabbergasted. After knowing the man for full-on a decade, the wellspring of inspiration for Douglas Smythe's literature remains every bit as mysterious to me as the recipe of his transcendent shaving soap. Douglas Smythe, like 'The Fresco Mystery' itself, is an enigma. That is why we love him. And that is why with each new expression of his seemingly boundless, Wonka-esque creativity I simply clap my hands and say, "Bravo, Mr Smythe! You go! Watermelon rinds, yes!" Will 'The Fresco Mystery' make the New York Times Best Seller list? Be recommended reading in Oprah's Book Club? Win a Booker Prize? Yeah, maybe... when Deus Porta is re-opened and the free will of humankind is rescinded by the ancient gods." ~ Ryan Steven Green, Filmmaker


Last Fall I had read a rather favorable review of the Hotel Cecil story by Mantic 59 on the Sharpologist site. In it he had compared the story to Doctor Who, a comparison I had never heard before nor entertained but thought I just might explore that idea this time around. Being that Sci Fi is my genre of choice I understand what he meant but it was never my intention, but now I thought I'd go there, or at the very least, go to England. So that is how Stonehenge ends up really being the backdrop of this latest romp. Everything else just magically fell into place! That is also all I shall reveal at this point.

So with all that said, I hope you purchase a copy of the book! It is available in paperback and in ebook files (Epub,Mobi and PDF)! Supporting this effort will inspire me to continue writing, well...books! Plus again, if you are a fan of the series so far, I believe you will enjoy The Fresco Mystery! If the story were a scent, it would be Fresco! (duh)

Dirty Smirk Press, 112 Pages of Epic!