"Ukulele of Death" By E.J. Copperman: Review/Giveaway

Review by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win a copy of the book at the end of this post along with a link to purchase it.

K&F Stein Investigations are not your usual private detective agency. After having gotten her Master’s degree in criminal justice, Fran Stein convinced her slightly older brother to invest and join her in creating a business specializing in finding the birth parents of their clients. They are themselves orphans who barely remember the parents who were killed in a car accident, leaving them to be raised by their “aunt” Margie in New York City. Ken is also unusually strong - like really strong - while Fran herself towers at over six feet and is an expert in at least three forms of martial arts. Oh, and they also have USB ports in their sides that require charging every few days or they become exhausted.

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Image Source Severn House
That is the first hint that this is anything but your usual private detective mystery, even though it otherwise has Fran and Ken Stein (yes, sound it out) following a path to track down a rather unorthodox Maltese Falcon. Evelyn Bannister has come to them asking for help in tracking down a Gibson Poinsettia ukulele, one that she believes was once owned by her birth father. She hopes that the ukulele will lead them to clues about her father, and it’s a puzzle that Fran and Ken are unable to resist solving. That was even before learning about the auction that has the ukulele being sold for $1.2 million dollars, an absurdly overpriced amount that stirs up even more questions about Evelyn and her quest. When Fran and Ken find Evelyn done in by a candlestick and lying next to an empty ukulele case, this twisted game of Clue veers again and takes the Steins into an unexpected direction. Soon Fran finds herself kidnapped, nearly dissected, and harassed by the police, not to mention making discoveries that dismantles everything she thought she knew about her parents.

Despite the sci-fi elements, this first in the series is more detective noir in nature as the investigating duo encounter henchmen, false identities, and mysterious billionaires. Their business card being found on a doctor implicates Fran in another death, an unfortunate situation that gives readers the pleasure of having her interact with an assortment of New York City police detectives. While one misogynistic cop definitely pushes the boundaries with his nicknaming Fran as “Gargantua,” the height-challenged Detective Richard “Mank” Mankiewicz isn’t put off by her PI status nor that she towers over him as he asks her out on dates. Their blossoming relationship is a charming surprise and adds yet another entertaining element to this unique and well-crafted mystery. 

Expect the unexpected in this new series by a very prolific and experienced writer, who having mastered the cozy, paranormal, and amateur detective genres dips his toe into the realm of science fiction. The mystery and detective elements still dominate the novel, and readers will enjoy this reliable author’s use of witty banter, sharp pop culture observations, and twists on classic mystery tropes. The mythology about Fran and Ken’s origin is gradually introduced in such a realistic manner that readers will be looking forward to joining them as they learn more about their extraordinary and compelling creation.

To enter to win a copy of Ukulele of Death, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "Ukulele,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 24, 2023. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode goes up next week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).
 Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. This certainly sounds different. Count me in!

  2. I think that "Ukulele of Death" by E.J. Copperman would be music to this cozy reader's ears!

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  3. Sounds like an interesting read.
    A new premise about a great service
    thanks txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

  4. I've loved ghost mysteries since I was a little kid. Never have grown out of it. Thanks for the chance to win this new book! crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com

  5. This is a new series to me and Copperman is a new author to me! Love that the series has tge elements of detectives, sci-fi, paranormal and mysteries - all of my favorites! Thank you!

  6. New author and series for me, sounds good! tWarner419@aol.com

  7. We have a winner!
    Lorie Ham


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