Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Living With Your Kids Is Murder by Mike Befeler

Title: Living With Your Kids Is Murder
Author: Mike Befeler
ISBN: 9781597229968
Publisher: Wheeler Publishing, 2009
Paperback, Large Print, 381 pages
Genre: Amateur Sleuth, Humorous Mystery, #2 Paul Jacobson Geezer Lit mystery
Rating: A-
Source: Purchased from Amazon.

First Line: My eyes opened in the dim light.

In this second book in the "Geezer Lit" mystery series, 85-year-old Paul Jacobson has left the nursing home in Hawaii and has flown to Boulder, Colorado, to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and 12-year-old granddaughter. Unfortunately the passenger sitting next to him on the plane is dead by journey's end, and since Paul was seen arguing with him, the folks in law enforcement are looking at him with very narrowed eyes.

It just so happens that Paul has short-term memory loss. Every time he goes to sleep, he wakes up with his mind wiped clean of recent events, so he's not much help when he's questioned-- and it makes him cranky. When he attends a Colorado Mountain Retirement Properties presentation (the company the dead man on the plane worked for), another CMRP employee is killed, and Paul is convinced that the property company is at the bottom of it all. In no time, he and his granddaughter, Jennifer, set out to find a killer.

This series is laced with humor, and at the heart of it is the wisecracking old fart, Paul Jacobson. He's learned to minimize the effects of his memory loss by writing the day's events in a journal each night and then reading it when he gets up in the morning. When he arrives at his son's home, the first thing he does is ask his daughter-in-law Allison what the family's daily routine is, and what chores he can take care of. Allison gives him dog-walking duty, and his walks not only let him get acquainted with the neighborhood and the town, they have a tendency to get him in hot water.

You see, every time Paul turns around, he's being pinned with committing a crime-- theft, chopping down trees, using bad language and gestures around small boys-- the list is long and confirms the fact that he is a crime magnet. Each and every time he's questioned by the police, he can't help making wisecracks, and I can picture the twinkle in his eye as he does it. The police are not amused, but Paul's got a secret weapon on his side: his very bright, very forthright, and very devious granddaughter. The two of them together make quite the team.

The identity of the killer in this book was rather easy for me to deduce, but that's not the focus of Living With Your Kids Is Murder. The real focus is Paul Jacobson himself. Mike Befeler has given us a feisty character with a disability that would make many others in his shoes give up and plant themselves in a chair by the window so they can stare glumly outside day after day feeling sorry for themselves. Paul refuses to do this. He has close and loving relationships with the members of his family, he makes friends easily and helps them as much as he can... he even winds up with two girlfriends, and by book's end is ready for yet another adventure.

Paul Jacobson will not go quietly into that good night, and we readers are the richer for it.


  1. Cathy - Your reviews have made me really want to check out this series. I'm annoyed with myself for not having done so yet, because it's just such a great premise! I must do that. Soon.

  2. I didn't find this book as good as you did (I would have rated it probably B-), but I do like Mike Befeler's writing. It is so quick and clear. I plan to read the new one he has coming out soon.

  3. I think I should have added that I found the first Befeler book about this character to be excellent. I would have rated it an A.

  4. I do like the premise of this one!

    Can´t stick my nose in here without being tempted ;(

  5. Margot-- There are just too many books to read, aren't there? :)

    Joe-- I want to read the third ASAP as well.

    Dorte-- Now you know my cunning plan! ;)


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