For most of us, “starting fresh each day” is merely a pleasant sentiment, but for character Paul Jacobson, starting fresh each day means starting from scratch. Can you imagine waking up to a total stranger in your bed every morning? That’s what Paul does when this octogenarian widower decides to get married for a second time. The problem is Paul suffers from short-term memory loss. Every day is fine, but each night when he falls asleep, his short-term memory is wiped clean. Throughout the delightful book, Senior Moments are Murder, Paul has to keep introducing himself to people, places and murder suspects.
It all starts with a walk near a canal in Venice, California. How Paul ended up in Venice when he’d spent most of his adult life in Hawaii, is beyond him. Anyway, when Paul looks into the canal and has a dead body float up in front of him the fun begins. Paul meets Detective Quintana of the twitching mustache, and meets him again and again throughout the book. As more bodies show up around Paul, the detective’s suspicions grow, especially as he has to keep introducing himself to the old geezer.
Luckily, Paul’s new bride, Marion, has a big heart and a great idea. She has Paul journal each evening to give him a leg up on the new day. Now if only he could remember to read his journal!
With the help of Paul’s granddaughter, the precocious Jennifer, his new grandson by marriage, Austin, and some wonderful characters along the way, Paul discovers more about life in Venice, the art community there, and how homeless people in the area live and get by. All this, and he’ll need to solve this murder mystery quick, in order to go on an Alaskan cruise for his upcoming honeymoon.
I loved the expressions found in this fun and funny book by Mike Befeler. Paul’s self-deprecating humor along with his sharp, if somewhat dysfunctional mind lead the reader through a page-turning romp. Good stuff!
ABOUT MIKE BEFELER
I had a chance to catch up with Mike Befeler, the author of Senior Moments are Murder and three other Paul Jacobson Geezer-Lit mysteries at a recent meeting of Mystery Writers of America at the Denver Press Club. He is the newly elected local chapter president, and we were about to listen to a talk on fingerprinting–but that is a story for another time.
Mike let me know that he made the conscious decision to retire into the writing life some time ago, so when he hit 56, he began writing in earnest. Before that, he was involved with high technology marketing. He audited a CU Boulder writing course and started submitting short stories.
“After 111 rejections, I became an overnight success,” said Mike with a laugh. His 112th submission, Never Trust A Poison Dart Frog, was a contribution to a short story anthology, Who Died In Here?, a collection based on death in bathrooms.
Then in 2005, Mike met Deni Dietz of Five Star Publishing. “The great thing about Deni,” said Mike, “is that she has you send her the whole manuscript. None of this send a couple of chapters, and then send more.” Two months after his submission, Mike received his contract for Retirement Homes Are Murder.
Today, Mike has a writing routine that’s very comfortably allowing him to produce his work. He works in the morning for a few hours, then takes a walk in the area around his Boulder, Colorado home. The afternoons, when he’s not at his most creative, are spent in administrative work, like social media management. But what excites this author is starting a new project.
“Once I have an idea, I get wrapped up in it,” said Mike. “I’ll do some basic outlining, but mostly I’m writing. I want to see what happens as well.” For Retirement Homes Are Murder, Mike said he was about two-thirds the way through writing the book before he figured out it was a mystery. Now, when he writes, he knows it’s a mystery, but often doesn’t know who the murderer is until late in the book. “Then I go back, change a couple of clues and add a red-herring or two.”
Mike is currently working on a paranormal geezer-lit book, so keep an eye out. This is one author on the move in lots of directions, and because Mike says he can’t stay serious for long, you’re sure to be entertained. Me? I’m going to check out “Cruising In Your Eighties Is Murder Next.” Something tells me it will be set in Alaska, with a honeymoon somehow involved.