During the Nov/Dec 2016 hiatus between meetings of the Just Desserts mystery fiction discussion group, we encourage regular attendees to continue to participate as a group…but in a virtual way. While we may not have an actual meeting scheduled during these two months, this blog is available to keep everyone active with their mystery reading and discussions.
Our “hiatus assignment” for 2016 is the “Professor Gideon Oliver” series by author Aaron Elkins. Comprised of eighteen volumes (so far), published between 1982’s first volume (Fellowship of Fear), and 2016’s latest volume (Switcheroo). Aaron Elkins began writing the first novel in the Gideon Oliver series in 1978, and has been steadily putting out books by himself, or in collaboration with his mystery-writing wife, Charlotte Elkins, ever since.
For those who are unfamiliar with Gideon Oliver, here’s a general overview of the series: Professor Gideon Oliver is a forensic anthropologist, whose expertise (especially in ancient human cultures) frequently allows him to assist in various investigations. Together with his wife, Julie, Gideon Oliver travels the world to various historical dig sites, stumbling across murder mysteries in many international settings.
Catalog Links: The libraries own all 18 novels in the Gideon Oliver series, starting with “Fellowship of Fear” (1982) through “Switcheroo” (2016) — although there are only limited numbers of copies of each title — anywhere from a single copy to as many as 4 of some of the older entries. Although none of the Gideon Oliver series is available in audiobook or Large Type editions, it does appear that all of them are available as eBooks through the libraries Hoopla digital content service!
In 1989, when the ABC television network had revived the concept of a “mystery movie night” with rotating sleuths, including Columbo, Kojak and B.L. Stryker, Gideon Oliver was one of their stable of mystery solvers. Louis Gossett Jr. played the anthropologist in 5 two-hour tv-movies. Those have not been released on DVD, but can be found on various online streaming sites.
Discuss the Professor Gideon Oliver series by Aaron Elkins on the Just Desserts Blog!
Handout with plots of all 18 Gideon Oliver novels — distributed at the October 2016 Just Desserts meeting.
Here’s the official Elkins website:
We look forward to seeing your comments here over the course of the next two months!
So…here’s your question:
Which of the “Gideon Oliver” novels did you read, and what was your opinion?