Murder, Mystery & Mayhem
In the Rio Abajo
by Richard Melzer & John Taylor
386 pages; 6 x 9 pb (89 photos) ISBN 978-1-936744-14-5 $24.95


Winner, Anthology, New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards, 2013
Finalist, New Mexico History, New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards, 2013


These are but a few of the incidents of murder, mystery, and mayhem that make the Rio Abajo such a treasure trove of intriguing history for local residents and historians alike. This volume is an attempt to preserve some of the most interesting of these many cases of murder, mystery, and mayhem — ranging from heinous murders to bold train robberies, from religious miracles to unsolved mysteries, and from accounts of earthquakes to reports of terrible disease. All took place in the Rio Abajo, defined as Valencia and Socorro counties in north-central New Mexico.
So, put on your deerslayer cap and join us as we explore some of the most famous and least-well-known history of New Mexico’s most colorful region, the Rio Abajo.

Murder, mystery and mayhem have played an often tragic, yet significant and exciting role in New Mexico history. The authors have utilized a wide variety of sources to bring us a broad spectrum of true stories of murder, mystery, and mayhem that vividly demonstrate how these elements have made New Mexico’s history so fascinating. — Robert J. Tórrez, former New Mexico State Historian and author of Myth of the Hanging Tree.

Richard Melzer is a professor of History at the University of New Mexico-Valencia Campus. He is the award-winning author of fifteen books and many articles and chapters on NewMexico history. He is the past president of the Historical Society of New Mexico.

John Taylor is the author or co-author of four books on nineteenth century New Mexico. In addition, he has published numerous articles in various books and journals on Civil War and Catholic history topics. Retired from Sandia National Laboratories, he has lectured on the history of arms control.