Retirement Home Mysteries
Follow Matthew Dudley, a Resident at La Vida Aureo (The Golden Life), an up-scale retirement community in Albuquerque, as he encounters episodes of mischief, mayhem, intrigue and even murder … set in the context of New Mexico’s colorful history and culture.
To date, there are now twelve complete and “separate” mystery Cases which are summarized below.
Case I (September 2014): The Virgin and the Maintenance Man
This is the first story in the Retirement Home Mystery Series and introduces the major characters and the setting. Matthew Dudley has just come to La Vida Aureo, an up-scale retirement village, for a period of recovery after a mild heart attack. Much to his surprise, he is asked to investigate the apparent murder of the facility’s maintenance man who has been stabbed to death by a large screwdriver. The Police do not appreciate Dudley’s involvement, but he eventually helps identify the murderer and how the crime was actually committed.
Case II (October 2014): Passion, Physical Therapy and Profit
Matthew Dudley has accepted what he considers a temporary position as La Vida Aureo’s Maintenance Man, but has put his home up for sale. During his rehabilitation program, Matthew Dudley notices what appear to be some unusual behaviors between the Physical Therapy Department Staff and a few patients. He begins to question the motives of several individuals and stumbles on a series of fraudulent activities. In cooperation with Lt. Frank Garcia of the Albuquerque Major Crimes Unit, they expose an illegal prescription drug operation potentially affecting the entire Albuquerque community.
Case III (November 2014): Damsels, Don Juan, Drama and Death
La Vida Aureo was established to provide all levels of support from Independent Living to Total Care. As a consequence, there is a wide variety of personalities and behaviors among the Residents. In his new role as Maintenance Man, Matthew Dudley has the opportunity to meet many of the more interesting characters and learn something of their individual life stories. The untimely death of a female Resident appears to involve the Resident Romeo and a group of women called The Queer Quartet. It takes him a while to unravel a series of complex personal relationships and unintended consequences while trying to avoid becoming a Reality TV Show.
Case IV (December 2014): Undercover Operations:
La Vida Aureo’s Executive Director, Isabella Duncan, enlists Matthew Dudley’s help to solve a case of internal theft. They must work together to stop the theft of supplies while addressing the underlying causes for this uncharacteristic behavior of a trusted Staff person. In the course of his investigation, Dudley befriends a new Resident with Alzheimer’s and uncovers a potentially sinister plot of international terrorism involving this mysterious Resident, a best-selling author, the FBI and the United States’ Homeland Security Agency.
Case V (January 2015): Salvation and Sabotage:
Religion is at the core of petty jealousy which erupts between two older women Residents and their perceived competition sets a bizarre sequence of events in motion. The deaths of two other female Residents are initially dismissed as heart attacks, but Matthew Dudley becomes suspicious based on information provided by his long-time group of friends, his so-called Curmudgeon Crew. Ultimately, Dudley is assisted in unexpected ways by Hannah Halverstrom, his Real Estate Agent, as they rush to prevent a major incident of sabotage and domestic terrorism.
Case VI (February 2015): War and Remembrance:
Two new Residents discover that their lives are connected in unexpected ways. The common link in their stories is a young man from the small town of Bernalillo as he is drafted into the Army and sent to Vietnam. Together, they come to realize that a cruel deception occurred many years before that impacted their lives as well as others. Matthew Dudley and Isabella Duncan investigate alternatives to grow and expand the impact of La Vida Aureo in the community and begin to form a Community Assist Team. The Staff at La Vida Aureo, known as the Sopapilla Network provide valuable insight and input.
Case VII (April 2015): Identities Lost and Stolen:
The death of an elderly Resident appears to be the result of a heart attack, but her close friend believes otherwise and presses Matthew Dudley to investigate the woman’s ne’er-do-well son. As he pursues his own line of inquiry, Matthew Dudley involves the Police who are quick to arrest the son, but some questions remain. Dudley’s approach relies on some new-found friends and unique skills to determine the truth and help the Police arrest the correct person in the nick of time.
Case VIII (May 2015): Identity Incidents on the Information Highway:
As the La Vida Aureo Community Assist Team develops a program to help elderly people understand the Affordable Care Act, they become increasingly aware of the enormous potential for fraud. With Matthew Dudley’s encouragement and guidance, they uncover a major insurance fraud scheme operating in Albuquerque. In order to fully expose the extent of the operation requires the unusual expertise of a mysterious character known simply as The Doctor. An off-hand comment encourages Dudley’s Curmudgeon Crew to explore the origins, history and true identities of New Mexico’s so-called Crypto Jews.
Case IX (June 2015): Power Play:
To the Bernalillo County Medical Examiner, the discovery of Conrad Alexander’s body in his apartment at La Vida Aureo is a clear-cut case of murder. It is ironic in the sense that Alexander was the retired CEO of New Mexico Power & Light and the evidence points to death by electrocution. As Lieutenant Frank Garcia of the Albuquerque Major Crimes Unit pursues the forensic clues for this crime, he is drawn into a tangled web of corporate competition, politics and corruption.
Case X (September 2015): Romeo is Dead:
Cesar Ramirez, La Vida Aureo’s Resident Romeo, is found dead on the grounds stabbed with what appears to be a large ceremonial knife. Lieutenant Garcia’s investigation is hampered in a number of ways while Matthew Dudley disobeys specific instructions from Isabella Duncan to pursue very different lines of inquiry of his own. A complex web of behaviors that have their origins in the history and settlement of New Mexico are at the root of this crime.
Case XI (October 2015): Trouble in the Air:
October is always an interesting month in Albuquerque, starting with the International Balloon Fiesta and culminating with the Dia de los Muertos celebrations. The mysticism and strange occurrences of these celebrations collide with high technology to complicate uncovering a large-scale drug ring operating in Albuquerque. The stakes are high and life has little value and the Tecolote Gang will stop at nothing to secure a large shipment from Mexico. Danger mounts and ultimately results in a gun battle near the border.
Case XII (June 2017): Witches’ Brew
It appears that the death of Mrs. Harriet Aldridge is an accident, resulting from a fall in her apartment. While preparing the apartment for Goodwill to remove possessions, Dudley discovers evidence that causes him to question the exact nature of Mrs. Aldridge’s accident. As he wrestles with his thoughts, the Curmudgeon Crew provides valuable insights that raise the possibility of foul play. Dudley also learns some new and interesting facts about New Mexico history, including the legends surrounding witches, one of whom may be at La Vida Aureo.