Riam_George2 Riam_George1
Full Name: George Riam
Nationality: American
Organization: -
Occupation Other - University Dean

Creator: David O. Woodbury
Time Span: 1963 - 1965


George Riam is a college dean.

The hero of this two-book spy/mystery series set in New England and written in the early to mid 60's is an aging former professor who is now the Dean of Science at the prestigious Eastern Technology Institute located in Cambridge along the scenic Charles River .

At 61, Riam is a tall lanky man said to have a mane of white. While his colleagues and friends call him George, to the student body that held him in great esteem, he is known affectionately as 'Rye'. He has been at the university for much of his academic life, first as a professor and a skilled and honored researcher and later as the head of the Science department responsible for teaching and for numerous research projects. Moreover he is also the second in command at the college and a close friend of the university president.

Highly intelligent and immensely curious, he nevertheless surprises even himself when in the adventure depicted in the first book he decides to take on the role of investigator and detective even though he knew he knew nothing of the mechanics except they did not follow any of the laws of science as he used to. The second adventure also requires him to leave the ivy halls and go up against people who will stop at nothing to get what they want and again he does so willingly but not really believing he is at it again.

One interesting aspect to the series is the way that Dean Riam goes about his investigations. As a scientist and a researcher, he is meticulous. At times he appears somewhat plodding to those dealing with him but it is only because they have not answered the questions he has asked - they just think they have.

A very simple example has Riam asking of a innkeeper if he had seen a missing man leave. The respondent answered that of course the man left since he was obviously not around anymore. "So you saw him leave?" Riam would ask again and again the answerer would say something like "if he didn't leave, man, then where is he?" Riam would not lose his temper but he would not give up until the man said definitely that he had not physically seen the departure. To the guy being asked the questions, Riam was obviously dim-witted or liked being annoying. To Riam the researcher, though, if no one actually saw the departure, any statements about when and how and why were pure speculation and had no bearing in the investigation.

Riam does not see himself as anything other than the scientist and scholar that he is and he has no intentions of being anything else. Something else that he is, though, is a survivor.


Number of Books:2
First Appearance:1963
Last Appearance:1965

1 Five Days To Oblivion Five Days To Oblivion
Written by David O. Woodbury
Copyright: 1963

A team of KGB agents working out of a Maine island have been snatching key American scientists. When a young researcher working with George Riam on a missile system for the DOD is the latest victim, Riam goes into action and proves he is every bit as good a detective as he is a researcher.

2 Mr. Faraday's Formula Mr. Faraday's Formula
Written by David O. Woodbury
Copyright: 1965

The team working with George Riam in the lab at his university have come up with what appears to be the formula for anti-gravity. When it is learned that the young scientist who spearheaded the discovery had used a formula conceived by a man dead over a hundred years, enemy agents come out of the woodwork to steal it.


I am still reading the second book and though the subject of this adventure seems a tad far-fetched and out-there, the storytelling is down-to-earth and very enjoyable. George Riam is a man of whom I would not have minded seeing a few more adventures. He can get irked like the rest of us. He can tease and be teased and he can be a friend who comes the rescue even though he is sometimes out of his element.

He is a very enjoyable character.

The two books are definitely far more mystery than espionage, at least when centered on Riam, but the books also spend a considerable amount of time on other characters and there is where the cloak and dagger takes place. Riam finds his way in eventually and logically and enjoyably.


My Grade: B


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