The Piano Teacher

#18 - RKT cover -- THE PIANO TEACHER


Everybody has a dream. For aspiring actress Suzanne Reynolds, her dream ended in a gruesome encounter with eccentric New York artist Charles Yukl. Fooled by his choirboy looks, Reynolds had no idea the man who taught her the piano was a woman-hating recluse who spent his days lost in fantasies of perversion. As a result of the plea bargain for Suzanne¹s brutal murder, Yukl soon gained his freedom due to a shocking series of legal errors — and killed again.

A riveting dramatization of two horrific crimes and their aftermath, The Piano Teacher brilliantly portrays a madman set on fulfilling his own sadistic and homicidal dreams…and the flawed justice system that gave him the opportunities to do so.

Editorial Reviews

Publisher’s Weekly

This true crime tale presents a stinging indictment of the judicial system at its worst, freeing a killer to kill again.

Tannenbaum (No Lesser Plea, Badge of the Assassin) and Greenberg, a syndicated columnist and TV producer, examine Charles Yukl’s childhood.  Son of musical parents, he had an icy, perfectionist mother determined to make him a great pianist and a distant, uncommunicative father. He grew up to become a maladjusted loner who hated women. And when, working on the fringes of show business in Manhattan, in 1966 he murdered one of his pupils, Suzanna Reynolds, he was given a light sentence and served only five years.

He went back to the entertainment world and repeated the pattern, killing another pupil in 1974, Karen Schlegal. Convicted and eligible for parole in 1989, Yukl hanged himself in a prison hospital in 1982.

Library Journal

In 1974, Charles Yukl, a New York City clerk who dabbled in music and photography, murdered a female acquaintance in his apartment.  Yukl was on parole, having been convicted of a similar killing in 1966.  Tanenbaum, who coauthored Badge of the Assassin, was Yukl’s prosecutor… It will interest true crime buffs. Gregor A. Preston, Univ. of California Lib., Davis


“Absorbing…takes the plunge into the dark terrain of a psychotic killer.” Flora Rheta Schreiber, Author of The Shoemaker