Gaus, P.L. 1949- (Paul Louis Gaus)

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Gaus, P.L. 1949- (Paul Louis Gaus)


Born March 26, 1949, in Athens, OH; married 1972; children: two. Education: Miami University, B.S., 1971; Duke University, Ph.D., 1975. Hobbies and other interests: Fishing, sailing, photography, target shooting, camping, and studying Civil War history and the culture of the Navajo and Amish.


Office—Department of Chemistry, Severance Hall 103, 943 College Mall, College of Wooster, Wooster, OH 44691-2418. E-mail—[email protected]


State University of New York, Stony Brook, research associate in chemistry, 1975-77; College of Wooster, Wooster, OH, 1977—, began as assistant professor and instructor in alternative cultures, became professor of chemistry and professor of alternative cultures. University of Illinois, visiting researcher. Certified firearms instructor.


American Chemistry Society, Sigma Xi.



Blood of the Prodigal, Ohio University Press (Athens, OH), 1999.

Broken English, Ohio University Press (Athens, OH), 2000.

Clouds without Rain, Ohio University Press (Athens, OH), 2001.

Cast a Blue Shadow, Ohio University Press (Athens, OH), 2003.

A Prayer for the Night, Ohio University Press (Athens, OH), 2006.


Student Solutions Manual to Accompany Chemistry: The Study of Matter and Its Changes, John Wiley (New York, NY), 1993.

(With F.X. Smith), Instructor's Manual to Accompany Chemistry: The Study of Matter and Its Changes, John Wiley (New York, NY), 1993.

(With F. Albert Cotton and Geoffrey Wilkinson), Basic Inorganic Chemistry, 3rd edition, John Wiley (New York, NY), 1995.

Student's Solution Manual to Accompany Basic Inorganic Chemistry, 3rd edition, John Wiley (New York, NY), 1995.

Professor's Solutions Manual to Accompany Basic Inorganic Chemistry, 3rd edition, John Wiley (New York, NY), 1995.

Contributor to Advances in Boron Chemistry, edited by W. Siebert, Royal Society of Chemistry (United Kingdom), 1997.


P.L. Gaus's debut novel, Blood of the Prodigal, the first volume of his "Ohio Amish Mystery" series, has been recognized by critics for its sensitive and interesting portrayal of the Amish culture. The story tells of Professor Michael Brandon's search for Jeremiah, a ten-year-old Amish boy, and his estranged father, Jonah. Jeremiah's mother, Brenda Hostettler, who is not Amish, committed suicide after his birth; and his father, because he was not married to Brenda, was banished from the community by Bishop Eli Miller. Bishop Miller, Jonah's father and Jeremiah's grandfather, raises Jeremiah after his father's banishment, but after Jonah returns and takes Jeremiah away from the community, Bishop Miller asks for Professor Brandon's help in tracking them down. Among the list of guidelines Miller gives Brandon for his investigation is the insistence that he not contact police authorities. Jonah, dressed in traditional Amish clothing, is found dead a mile from the Bishop's house, and Jeremiah remains missing. Among the murder suspects is Jeremiah's maternal uncle, Jeff Hostettler.

In a Booklist review, Jenny McLarin described this mystery as being "insightful," and commented: "Gaus writes with authority and warmth about the mysterious Amish." According to a Publishers Weekly contributor: "Gaus brings a refreshing authenticity to his unusual setting and … believable characters whose faith is explored with respect.… [in] this fine mystery debut."

A Millersburg woman is killed by recently released convict Jesse Sands in Broken English, and her father, David Hawkins, who has adopted Amish traditions, at- tacks the killer in jail after he is caught. Michael and his long-time friends, sheriff Bruce Robinson and Reverend Caleb Troyer, are divided as to the guilt or innocence of Hawkins. The plot lines in Clouds without Rain, include greed and land developers. Michael becomes involved in an investigation of mountain bike-riding teens who are robbing the local Amish as they travel in their horse-drawn buggies. "Part of Gaus's strength lies in graphic description, as in the horrifying opening scene of auto, tractor-trailer and horse-cart carnage," commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer.

A blizzard devastates Millersburg and the college in Cast a Blue Shadow, leaving dead Juliet Favor, a wealthy college patron. When it is discovered that the death was not an accident, the prime suspect becomes Mennonite Martha Lehman, who was involved with Juliet's son, and who has been mute since experiencing an early childhood trauma. Michael and his wife, Caroline, who helped a younger Martha through a pregnancy and adoption, become involved. Gaus portrays the various sects, and their degrees of strictness, which sometimes results in shunning. A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote: "Eschewing any academic pedantry, Gaus manages to expertly enlighten as well as entertain." McLarin wrote: "A fascinating look into the unique and complex worlds of the Amish and academia."

In A Prayer for the Night, the fifth book in the series, Amish teens are turned loose during Rumschpringe, during which they are allowed to experience sex, drugs, and technology in the modern American world before committing themselves to the ways of their elders. Abe Yoder and his friend, John Schlabaugh, fail to show up for a secret meeting, and Abe's cousin, Sara Yoder, is kidnapped by drug dealers. Bruce searches Holmes County for the teens, with the help of Caleb and Michael. This story includes the details of an Amish wedding and funeral, providing a better understanding of how the Amish society maintains traditions as the world beyond their community changes. Another character is Tony Arnetto of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), who cares less about the missing Sara and more about breaking up a drug ring. Edward Morris concluded a review for ForeWord Magazine online by saying that Gaus "brings alive a complex society that is generally portrayed in picture-book stereotypes."



Booklist, April 15, 1999, Jenny McLarin, review of Blood of the Prodigal, p. 1476; May 1, 2000, Jenny McLarin, review of Broken English, p. 1616; November 15, 2003, Jenny McLarin, review of Cast a Blue Shadow, p. 584.

Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2003, review of Cast a Blue Shadow, p. 1202; April 1, 2006, review of A Prayer for the Night, p. 325.

Library Journal, May 1, 2006, Jo Ann Vicarel, review of A Prayer for the Night, p. 67.

New York Times Book Review, June 24, 2001, Marilyn Stasio, review of Clouds without Rain; December 28, 2003, Marilyn Stasio, review of Cast a Blue Shadow, p. 15.

Publishers Weekly, May 31, 1999, review of Blood of the Prodigal, p. 69; May 21, 2001, review of Clouds without Rain, p. 83, Ralph Menconi, "PW Talks with P.L. Gaus," p. 84; October 20, 2003, review of Cast a Blue Shadow, p. 39; March 13, 2006, review of A Prayer for the Night, p. 46.


ForeWord Magazine, (January 24, 2007), Edward Morris, review of A Prayer for the Night.

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Gaus, P.L. 1949- (Paul Louis Gaus)

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