Friday, October 30, 2015

Author Mike Befeler on Rewriting History

Mike Befeler is our special guest blogger today here on Author Expressions. Mike turned his attention to writing after a 39-year career in the computer industry. He now resides in Lakewood, CA, with his wife Wendy. His published novels in the Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit Mystery Series include: RETIREMENT HOMES ARE MURDER; LIVING WITH YOUR KIDS IS MURDER (finalist for The Lefty Award for best humorous mystery of 2009); SENIOR MOMENTS ARE MURDER; CRUISING IN YOUR EIGHTIES IS MURDER (finalist for The Lefty Award for best humorous mystery of 2012); CARE HOMES ARE MURDER; and NURSING HOMES ARE MURDER. Mike has two paranormal mysteries, THE V V AGENCY and THE BACK WING, and a theater mystery, MYSTERY OF THE DINNER PLAYHOUSE. Mike is past president of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. He also is the author of a biography, FOR LIBERTY: A WORLD WAR II SOLDIER’S INSPIRING LIFE STORY OF COURAGE, SACRIFICE, SURVIVAL AND RESILIENCE, and his first historical mystery, MURDER ON THE SWITZERLAND TRAIL. And now, here’s Mike!

Rewriting History

I’ve had the opportunity to have nine previous mystery novels published, and all of these have been in current times. My first foray into historical mysteries will be available within a week from Five Star and is titled, Murder on the Switzerland Trail.

Why the title of this blog, “Rewriting History?” The answer is this: a historical mystery novel blends historical accuracy with the imagination of the author to add fictional events. Murder on the Switzerland Trail is set in 1919 in Boulder, Colorado, and the mountains outside Boulder. I had a wonderful time hiking the publicly available sections of what had been the railroad bed, researching that era, reviewing old newspapers on microfiche and reading books about the Switzerland Trail railroad.

Here is the quick summary of the novel: A Sunday excursion in the mountains above Boulder, Colorado, in 1919 leads to murder as intertwined lives play out a mystery on the Switzerland Trail railroad. Policeman Harry McBride must figure out who the murderer is before the train reaches the Boulder station on the return trip.

I have attempted to portray as accurately as possible the description of the towns along the route of the Switzerland Trail railroad in 1919, historical events surrounding the story and some actual people of that era. I use the background of the post World War I period, the signing of the peace treaty, the recent influenza epidemic and the struggle to keep the Switzerland Trail railroad in business. The fictional license taken includes the actual murder, the victim, the suspects and the investigator.

The Switzerland Trail railroad carried supplies for miners and passengers into the mountains and brought ore down to the towns below during the end of the nineteen and beginning of the twentieth centuries. The railroad went out of business shortly after the story takes place due to the struggle to keep it financially solvent, compounded by the rise of the motorcar as a means of transportation and a devastating flood, which wiped out many of the railroad trestles along the route. The story of the demise of the railroad runs parallel to the stories of the passengers who venture into the mountains one fateful day.

or contact your local bookseller. Enjoy.

Hi, this is Jacqueline Seewald again. If you leave comments for Mike, he will respond.
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Susan Oleksiw said...

I like the description of the research into the history of this railroad and how it came to an end, bringing to life a part of our past long gone and probably mostly forgotten. You've set yourself quite a challenge to solve the crime before the train ride comes to an end. Perhaps your book could make a separate genre, along with Christie's Orient Express.

Mike Befeler, author of geezer-lit and paranormal mysteries said...

Thanks for your comment. The protagonist definitely has a challenge to find the murderer before the suspects depart

Jacqueline Seewald said...


This sounds like a really exciting mystery! I love historical Westerns that combine mystery and suspense thriller qualities. Congrats.

jrlindermuth said...

This sounds like an interesting novel, Mike, both for the setting/period and the challenge you've set your detective. I can sympathize with the work it takes to make historical fiction accurate without becoming pedantic.

Mike Befeler, author of geezer-lit and paranormal mysteries said...

It does take time to research the period, but as I indicated, I enjoyed the process because I learned so much.

Catherine Dilts said...

I started reading your novel this weekend. I agree with Susan - it is like Murder on the Orient Express set in historic Colorado.