Today I’m featuring one of my favorite people (and favorite mystery authors), Mike Befeler. Mike writes the Paul Jacobson geezer lit mystery series, and I can tell you the novels are fun and a little poignant at times and always good writing.
In the May, 2008, issue of the AARP Bulletin, Mike Befeler was identified as one of four authors in a new emerging mystery sub-genre. Harlan Coben, president of Mystery Writers of America stated, “We’ve just scratched the surface on geezer-lit. It could be the next frontier in crime fiction.”
Mike turned his attention to fiction writing after a career in high technology marketing. His debut novel, Retirement Homes are Murder, was published January, 2007. The second novel in his Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit Mystery Series, Living With Your Kids is Murder, appeared April, 2009, and was a finalist for the Lefty Award for the best humorous mystery of 2009. Senior Moments are Murder is the third book in the series and was published in August, 2011. Book four in the series, Cruising in Your Eighties is Murder, is scheduled for release December 19, 2012.
Mike is active in organizations promoting a positive image of aging and is vice-president of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. He holds a Master’s degree from UCLA and a Bachelor’s degree from Stanford.
Alaskan Cruise Mystery by Mike Befeler
The fourth book in my Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit Mystery series, Cruising in Your Eighties Is Murder, will be published this month. Before writing this book, I took an Alaskan cruise as a research expedition. The timing was perfect. My high school class was having a reunion cruise. This gave me an opportunity to catch up with old friends. My wife and daughter also joined me, so it was a family trip as well. So what more could I have asked for: friends, family, a part of the world I hadn’t seen before, and, oh, yes, an opportunity to collect information for a mystery novel.
We began in Seattle, where there was a reception held by a classmate on Mercer Island. Then the next morning I had a chance to walk around Seattle, madly taking notes. I found two spots that I wanted to use in my mystery: Victor Steinbrueck Park which overlooks Puget Sound and a small public garden along a side street. From the park I could see the cruise ship that we would be boarding later in the day. The first few scenes were forming in my author’s brain.
That afternoon after boarding, we unpacked and were to participate in a life boat drill. We had to don life vests and proceed to our station. Along the way I wondered, what if . . .
Our first stop was in Juneau, the capital of Alaska. We went on a tour that included a salmon hatchery. Again I wondered, what if . . . This was followed by a stop to see the Mendenhall Glacier. One more what if.
Next, on to Skagway where we took the White Pass railroad that wound through a valley above Skagway. The view was spectacular and we even sighted a bear dashing from the side of the tracks into the woods. I took a picture which we later labeled the bear butt photo. I knew this train ride would also play a part in my novel. Sunset was at 10:17 PM with sunrise at 3:52 AM the next morning.
On to Glacier Bay where we watched glaciers calve. I took photographs like mad. While we were in Glacier Bay, I went to get an ice cream cone but was informed that because of environmental regulations I couldn’t have a paper napkin. I just knew that something like this would set off the temper of my protagonist, Paul Jacobson.
We stopped in Ketchikan where we went on a rainforest tour and then sailed on to Victoria for a bus tour of the city before proceeding to Butchart Gardens. For anyone interested in gardening or flowers, this is a must stop on your bucket list. Beautiful and full of promising spots for . . . a mystery novel. I knew this had to be the spot for the climax to my novel.
We returned to Seattle having had a wonderful time, taken enjoyable tours, eaten too much good food and spent quality time with friends and family. Now all that was left was turning what I had seen into a mystery novel.
The result will appear this month. You have had a preview of Paul Jacobson’s journey. Now all you need to do is read Cruising in Your Eighties to find out all the trouble Paul gets into and how he has to extract himself from turmoil while dealing with his short-term memory loss.
Thanks, Mike. I’m looking forward to reading another excellent Paul Jacobson adventure.
You can learn more about Mike and his mystery series at his website and blog. He can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.