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Retirement Homes Are Murder (Paul Jacobson Geezer-Lit Mystery #1)

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  196 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
When crotchety octogenarian Paul Jacobson discovers a body wedged in a retirement home trash chute, he must become an amateur sleuth to clear himself as a murder suspect while struggling with the problems of his short-term memory loss.
Hardcover, 291 pages
Published January 1st 2007 by Five Star (ME)
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Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Not really a 4 star book, but close. It was a quick, light murder mystery, but the characters tickled me. The main character is an 80 year old man who can't remember anything for the past 5 years once he falls asleep (view spoiler) That makes his predicament that much tougher to figure out & adds more humor.

I thought the ending was a bit weak. I hate it when the crook confesses all completely, but that d
Apr 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-cozy

Retirement Homes are Murder by Mike Befeler

I am giving this author an A+ for his originality and creativity in writing a cozy mystery focusing on the end of life with a sense of humor. A big thank-you to him from this baby boomer and former worker at a nursing home and case manager for the elderly.

And just how did this author get away with this topic without offending me, the reader? By using a cantankerous old geezer by the name of Paul Jacobson as his main character. That's how!
Paul Jacobson
Krysta Nisbeth
Quick read, but would have been much better as a short story. Loved the premise, hated the execution. There was bound to be some repetition due to the memory-hampered protagonist, but talk about tedious. The mystery wasn't even good, which usually the redeeming factor of a murder mystery. When the offender explained the dastardly plan, I had to stifle the desire to skim. I am giving 2 stars because it didn't actively offend me.
Sassy Beta Reading & Review
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I actually had this as an audio book and it was great. It made my traveling go so much faster.

This reminded me of the movie 50 first dates but set as a murder mystery instead.

It was an engaging story, that had me cracking up throughout. You can't help but to fall in love with these old people. I hope to have as much fun as they do when I get to be there age.

This book had some serious problems, but ... I'm willing to listen to the sequel. Here's what you can expect if you're curious:

Widower Paul Jacobsen cannot remember anything from the previous five years once he feels asleep - nothing - zip, zero, zilch; he's had this condition for a while as our story opens at the retirement home in Hawaii where he's just moved in at the urging of his son. He finds some trash in his flat, goes to dump it in the trash chute, where he finds a corpse blocking his c
Kathleen Hagen
Retirement Homes Are Murder, by Mike Defeler, b-plus, Narrated by Jerry Siarrio, produced by Books in Motion, downloaded from

Paul Jacobson, in his ‘80’s, has just been moved into a retirement home by his son. But the problem is that he has short-term memory loss, which means that every morning when he wakes up, he doesn’t remember anything from the day before. So, when he woke up the first morning, he didn’t know where he was. He was re-introduced to the two guys who sat with him at
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
Aug 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
I think that I was severely remiss in taking so long to read this book. However, I have read this book now and am delighted.

An eighty-something man, Paul Jacobson, wakes up in a room he doesn't recognize and has to cope. He is told he has 'short-term memory loss.' To be honest I kept waiting for a miracle cure, but, the character remained honest. He has a severe disability...he forgets the last 24hrs. He even forgets faces and names. I actually stopped reading and gave thought to how this disabi
Jan 31, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, book-club
Paul Jacobsen is 80 years old and recently incarcerated (by his son) in an assisted senior living center. Everything functions the way one would hope when you're 80 years old (even if they do need a little chemical assistance), except for one thing: every morning, he wakes up having forgotten everything that has happened in the last 5 years, including everything that happened yesterday (or even earlier the same day, if he takes a nap). Now that he's the number one suspect in a murder, that could ...more
Jan 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
#1 in the Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit mystery series. 2007 debut novel has an interesting twist, octogenarian Paul Jacobson has a short term memory problem - when he wakes up, he can't remember anything more recent than 5 years ago. The novel starts when he awakens in a retirement home and has no idea where he is or how he got there. He discovers a body and becomes an instant suspect to a particularly dense detective who wants to connect him to all manner of crimes. The concept is interesting and t ...more
Dec 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I got a kick out of this book: it’s poignant and funny, respectful and compassionate. The protagonist, Paul Jacobson, is in his 80s and suffering from short-term memory loss. When he wakes up in the morning, unless he’s spent the night with his love interest, he can’t remember anything that happened the day before. At the suggestion of his new friend Meyer (who he has to meet again, every day), Paul writes everything down. But writing stuff down only works if you remember that you wrote it down ...more
Mar 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
I'll be honest, the only reason I finished this book was because I chose it for a Mystery Challenge over at Paperbackswap. And I have to admit to a fair amount of skimming, because it was not only boring, with what I thought was a sort of awkward writing style, but the mystery was just silly and uninteresting. I thought it rather insulting to old people as well.

The main character was a walking caricature and the secondary characters were nothing but tired cliches. I could tell the bits that wer
Jul 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was a fun and witty, yet sometimes sadly touching, cozy mystery. As a Caregiver, I love Paul and Meyer, both who could be representative of seniors who can't quite live alone, but don't yet need the full care of a skilled-nursing facility. I laughed out loud at some of Paul's attitudes (some of which I have felt, some of which I could appreciate based on his current life), and was saddened by the truths of the changes in health for Paul and his table-mates. I very much appreciated the ...more
Feb 05, 2011 rated it liked it
This book was a real hoot! The main character is feisty and funny, and the story is richly plotted with ingenious situations. Paul Jacobson is 80 years old and has short-term memory loss, so he wakes up every day and doesn't remember anything from the last 5 years. He finds a dead body in the garbage chute at the retirement home he's just moved into and, after he reports it to the police, the homicide detective accuses him of the murder. The detective is so set on Paul as the murderer that he wo ...more
Jun 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
Book #29 for 2013

This book got off to a very promising start as sort of a geriatric version of Memento. I found, however, that I had a hard time warming to the main character, Paul Jacobson, and the supporting cast seemed to be lacking in nuance. I did like that Mike tried to explore some of the moral implications of Paul's self-"treatment", but I got the impression that he was also at a loss as to how to deal with that angle and eventually dropped it. And maybe I've read too many cozy mysteries
Theresa de Valence
Jul 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
I’m not looking forward to our inescapable sentence of frailty; it’s hard enough hanging around aged relatives, why would I want to read about it?

You’d think that reading a book about a retired old fart would be pretty darn boring. You’d think that garnering the occasional smirk would be the best you could get.

You’d be wrong on both counts.

RETIREMENT HOMES ARE MURDER by Mike Befeler is an entertaining story, though improbable in places. No Matter. It’s a light-hearted book with surprisingly li
Feb 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
I read this book for my mystery discussion group. The premise is interesting, Paul Jacobson,the 80ish main character, has short term memory. Every morning he wakes up and doesn't know where he is or who the people are that he encounters. When he finds a body in the trash chute of his retirement home, he doesn't expect to find himself the prime suspect, but that's exactly what happens. Paul knew the murdered man, but he doesn't remember him. Paul turns amateur sleuth with the help of friends at t ...more
Sep 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
A laugh out loud book that somehow makes growing old look like fun but at the same time mixes in the pathos and problems of the elderly in assisted living and nursing homes. Set in Hawaii (with lots of local color) we follow Paul Jacobson who suffers from short term memory loss and must keep a detailed journal to help him remember his day to day happenings. He is falsely accused of murder and theft and struggles to absolve himself. He is aided by Meyer,a fellow retirement home resident.
Real fast
Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Humorous "Mystery"

Looking for some light, quick reading? This is fun, and I'd guess it would make a good "kitchen" book to read aloud, since the mystery doesn't have enough suspense that you couldn't let it go for a day or two. I like how it humanizes nursing home folks, who need relationships, even sex, and having an amateur detective with a short term memory problem actually adds to the humor and his humanity! Well done Mr. Jacobson.
Jul 06, 2008 rated it it was ok
This book was like having a very special, two-hour episode of Murder She Wrote where Jessica Fletcher travels to Hawaii to visit an old friend and there is a murder in the assisted living home where her friend lives. It is light and a quick read. The story is more than predictable. Full of likeable characters with lots and lots of witty banter. Some have described this book to me as HILARIOUS. I hated it. The story was as implausible as a Scooby Doo episode.
What an obnoxious story. This "cozy" mystery lacks any real detective quality. For example: Fingerprints are identified shortly after events take place with no time at all to run them through a data base. The short-term memory loss angle got a bit worn out rather quickly. Author uses the same vulgar slang words with frequency. A vulgar little story at best. Read 35% of this Kindle-formatted book, and had enough of it. It was sorely lacking class.
Diane Heath
Apr 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Paul Jacobson wakes up in a new place with no memory of how he got there. Apparently he moved into a retirement home the day before. He has short term memory loss in the same manner as Dana Carvey did in the movie Clean Slate. Paul has to write the events of the day in a journal each night in order to keep track of the past. This becomes even more vital when he finds the body of a murdered man in a trash chute. He is the prime suspect....
Sharon Mensing
Jun 06, 2010 rated it liked it
I thought this might be a book based on Alzheimer's, but it really isn't. The premise is that a 70+ guy who has just moved into a retirement home can't remember anything that happened in the last five years or so once he goes to sleep. He gets involved in a trying to solve a murder and has to reset his memory every morning. It's a clever premise and this light diversion is well done. A quick read, but fun. Set in Hawaii, and it does have a good sense of place.
Jul 26, 2011 rated it liked it
I've heard of chick-lit but never geezer-lit. Mike Befeler was a speaker at the women's group I belong to. He was entertaining and interesting. So I read this first novel of his. Funny mystery with lots of references to being old, getting old, and dealing with again issues. OK read. May read the next one "Living with your kids is murder".
Bob Olson
Oct 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Warm, funny mystery set in a nursing home with a hero who suffers from memory loss so severe he can't remover what he did the previous day. Then, he discovers he is the prime suspect in a theft and a murder. I really enjoyed getting to know this character and look forward to visiting with him again in other installments of this series.
Dec 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who likes cozy mysteries or geezer lit
Recommended to Caroline by: Good Read group member
Very amusing! Main character is male and older than the first book I read in this genre, so different kind of "geezer" challenges, like very short-term memory loss. Pacing was good and characters well crafted. Went through this book quickly -- a page turner. Looking forward to the next novel in this series.
Gusto Dave
The author of this title is an RMFW member. For that reason, we do not rate these selections. We’re kind of biased. However, it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t have them on our shelves. And you’ll see this message on any other titles that come from our members. We do hope that you’ll consider reading it, though. ;)

Gusto Dave, Publicity Chair for RMFW
Jon Spoelstra
Dec 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
I downloaded this on Amazon Kindle just before I boarded a flight to Portland, Oregon from Maui. $4.99 only. It's a mystery but I was laughing and chuckling the whole way. You'll enjoy the main character, a crotchety octogenarian named Paul Jacobson. You can get this in a paper edition or on Kindle.
May 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a delightful mystery with a somewhat crotchety old protagonist. Despite dealing his unique form of memory loss and with the problem of "being stuck living among a bunch of old people", Paul Jacobson, whom someone called "a male Miss Marple", manages to find some good-hearted companions and manages to solve an intriguing murder mystery. It is a fun read.
Mike McClanahan
Nov 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As one poised on the brink of geezerdom, I found Paul Jacobson to be a delightful character. A good, fast-paced story with witty dialog and a good plot. It's a fun, light read that captures some of the poignancy of aging without bringing the reader down. And the thought of having one's memory refreshed by a roll in the hay makes me happy.
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Mike Befeler writes the humorous Paul Jacobson "Geezer Lit" mystery series featuring an ocotgenarian protagonist with short-term memory loss. The series includes: Retirement Homes Are Murder, Living With Your Kids Is Murder, Senior Moments Are Murder, Cruising in Your Eighties Is Murder, Care Homes Are Murder and Nursing Homes Are Murder. His latest book is Mystery of the Dinner Playhouse, with a ...more
More about Mike Befeler...

Other Books in the Series

Paul Jacobson Geezer-Lit Mystery (6 books)
  • Living with Your Kids Is Murder
  • Senior Moments Are Murder
  • Cruising in your Eighties is Murder
  • Care Homes Are Murder
  • Nursing Homes Are Murder

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