Robert K. Tanenbaum and Peter S. Greenberg – The Piano Teacher: The True Story of a Psychotic Killer

2. The Piano Teacher: The True Story of a Psychotic Killer by Robert K. Tanenbaum and Peter S. Greenberg (1987) 
Length: 301 pages
Genre: True Crime
Started: 3 January 2015
Finished: 6 January 2015
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap 
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 3 January 2015
Why do I have it? I like true crime and Robert K. Tanenbaum and Peter S. Greenberg are relatively new authors for me.

Charles William Yukl was the eldest of two sons born to Czech parents – pianist and conductor Dorothea Freitag Yukl, and trumpeter Charles W. Yukl. Charles Yukl claimed that his parents were often abusive to him as a child, attributing severe beatings and other random cruelty to his “perfectionist, demanding” parents. As a young child, Charles was fascinated by fire and was accused of setting several fires by the age of nine.

He held a variety of jobs as an adult, and was soon urged by his mother to become a professional ragtime pianist. He was rather successful and played in Manhattan, Union City, New Jersey and in the Catskills, often using the stage name Yogi Freitag. He married a German photography student named Enken in 1961 and subsequently became a voice and piano teacher.

The real Charles Yukl was nothing at all like the facade he portrayed to the world. Behind the well-mannered musical prodigy with the choirboy looks dwelt a twisted psychotic misogynist. A reclusive, eccentric man whose dreams of perverse sexual fulfillment lived – and died – only in his fertile imagination.

Then on Monday, October 24, 1966, Charles Yukl brought his perverted fantasies to vivid life when he brutally murdered twenty-five year old Suzanne Reynolds. Suzanne was an aspiring actress who had been taking voice lessons for three months from the thirty-one year old ragtime pianist, and she had absolutely no idea of his true nature. Then, eight years later – on Tuesday, August 20, 1974 – due to a shocking series of legal errors that granted him the freedom to kill again, he lured a twenty-three year old aspiring model named Karin Schlegel to a Greenwich Village rooftop and savagely strangled her to death.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I had never heard of Charles Yukl or of the murders he committed. I found this story incredibly sad, and the fact that due to a bureaucratic oversight, he was allowed to kill again really made me angry. I will say that I found this book to be rather slow in places, and I really would have appreciated a deeper investigation of the wife’s personality; other than mentioning that she was disturbing, very little else was explained about her, or their strange relationship. I would give The Piano Teacher: The True Story of a Psychotic Killer by Robert K. Tanenbaum and Peter S. Greenberg a B+!

B+! – (89-94%)
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight


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