Review Detail

The Player, by Joe Cosentino
Books EW Elaine White September 12, 2020 957
Quirky Murder Mystery
 POV: 1st person, one character POV

 The Player is the first the Player Piano Mystery series. Combining two stories – The City House and The Country House; with the same main characters – the stories are clever, intriguing, and full of quirky humour and a murder mystery.

 Reminiscent of the Amy Myers “Auguste Didier” series, there is a comfortable balance of comedy and mystery, while Andre starts to navigate through a murder investigation in his own apartment complex. Finding a player piano in the basement is exciting, but when he begins playing and a ghost from the 1930s appears and begins flirting with him, Andre is dropped into the unknown. When a body drops outside his apartment door, Andre is thrust into a murder investigation, as the prime suspect. To prove his innocence, he begins to investigate, battling on all fronts: a flirty ghost no one else can see or hear, a murder investigation, and the usual antics of living in a busy apartment complex.

 There are a dozen characters in the book, but the central and recurring characters are: Andre and his ghost Freddy; Andre's aunt, his best friend Victor and his boyfriend. Each of those characters appear in both stories within the book, which take place 1 year apart.

 The City House – the first story – takes us straight into the characters, the mystery, and the return of Freddy into the land of the living, or undead. From page one, we take a deep-dive into Andre's life, which lets us get to know our central character, and allows us to feel for him, to worry about his fate, and hope for his future. As soon as the ghost, Freddy, was introduced I was even more drawn to the story, because both he and Andre were perfect main characters to keep the story alive, exciting, and add a touch of romance to the plot.

 The pacing and writing, as usual, were brilliant. I have been a fan of Cosentino's for years, and this one is perfectly in line with everything I've come to know, expect and love of their writing. The wit, the humour, and the mystery were all right up my alley. The humour was fun and a touch slapstick and quirky, but not over-the-top. The mystery was intriguing, but like any good mystery, we were given plenty of breadcrumbs to follow throughout the story.

 I loved the way Freddy – especially in The City House – is used to explore both the 1930s era and the modern era. Andre shares the good and bad advances of the modern world, and even how things haven't progressed as far as he'd like, while Freddy shares a riot of history and fame and fortune that is far removed from Andre's less glamorous life.

 Overall, the entire novel was fun, lovely and super cute. It had an intriguing mystery and, though I did spot some of the clues early on, it was a fun journey to follow Andre and Freddy to the final conclusions. The first story lasted for 58%, which gave us plenty of time to feel connected to Andre and Freddy and explore their relationship, before progressing into the second story. I loved the pacing, the plotting and the natural way Andre came across information to help him solve the case.

 I can't wait for the next installment in this series.


 Favourite Quotes

 “We need to get it up to my apartment.”
He laughed ironically. “You and me and which professional piano movers?”
“Victor, we’ve both been working out at the gym.”
“To attract men, not to move pianos.””

“What if he arrests me?” Victor rose and sat on the arm of my chair. “If I go to prison, a tall, muscular inmate might want to have his way with me.” He thought about it. “Okay, maybe we shouldn’t rush into a defense.””
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