The Gideon Oliver series by Aaron Elkins is one of my favorite series. The combination of forensic science (which Elkins takes quite seriously) and some ingenious plots makes for some very enjoyable reading. Oliver’s interactions with his sidekicks are a treat – especially when he states something definitively, just to reverse himself, and maybe even reverse himself again, as he figures out more based on the bones in the case – and in the process frustrates, awes and amuses those sidekicks in equal shares. I have to read the Oliver books by myself, because I’ll get caught laughing out loud at least a few times during every one. The series is also a lot of fun because Oliver’s academic position and contacts get him trips all over the world, so we get to enjoy locations from Gibraltar to the South Pacific, and quite a few places in between. And even though this is a series that’s all about the forensics, there’s a reason Oliver is known, much to his chagrin, as the Skeleton Detective. That’s because he prefers working on his skeletons as bones, not bodies – the older and drier the better! So there’s not a lot of gore – which is either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your preferences. (For me, it’s a good thing…) And finally, a nice plus is that the books in this series (and in Elkins’ other series, some of which he writes with his wife, Charotte) tend to go on sale a lot, so it’s not an expensive series to develop a habit for!
And if you haven’t tried the series, as of right now, March 6, 2021, it’s even less expensive – an omnibus (The Gideon Oliver Mysteries Volume One) of the first four titles in the series is only $3.99 at KIndle and Kobo US – that’s only $1 per book if you need and want them all! And, it’s discountable at Kobo if you are a VIP member there, or if you have a coupon code. The titles in the omnibus are: Fellowship of Fear, The Dark Place, Murder in the Queen’s Armes, and Old Bones. However, even with all the praise I just lavished on this series, I think it’s fair to say that the first two titles are not among my favorites – they feel to me as if Elkins was still finding his stride. They’re still good, but they’re not as good (IMO) as the later tites. OTOH, the third and fourth (especially the fourth) ARE two of my favorites, so if you buy the omnibus, make sure you perservere. Or maybe just start with the third or fourth one – IMS, you don’t really need to read these in strict order.
And check out Aaron and Charlotte Elkins’ website.