Review: Cozy 'Drama Pan' Definitely a Quintessential Beach Reach

by Christopher Verleger

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday June 3, 2021

Review: Cozy 'Drama Pan' Definitely a Quintessential Beach Reach

Playwright and novelist J.M. Barrie, creator of "Peter Pan," wrote, "To die will be an awfully big adventure." Little could he have known that Treemeadow College's avant-garde production of his most famous work would use that proclamation as a set of instructions.

In "Drama Pan," happily married theater professors Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver are back for their twelfth delectably deadly adventure in the irresistible "Nicky and Noah Mystery" series from author Joe Cosentino. As usual, they are joined by their son, Taavi, as well as best friends Martin Anderson and Ruben Markinson and their son, Ty. Fans of the series will also recognize Shayla, Martin's sassy office assistant, and the inexplicably incompetent Detective Jose Manuello.

This latest murderous episode begins when Nicky's recently widowed brother, Tony, recruits a renowned family of egomaniacal artists, the Coutures, to help stage the Vermont college's irreverent interpretation of the familiar fable, Peter Pan, penned by Martin. Members of this supposedly talented, albeit tempestuous, tribe include set designer Jules, his costumer designer wife Madelaine, and their three children, Antoine, Gaspard, and Genevieve.

It's no coincidence that the number of Couture family members matches the number of murders typically committed in Abbondanza-directed productions at Treemeadow, so as each meets their demise, the list of suspects grows among the remaining cast of theater majors.

The unashamedly ambitious Santino Thirio resents the Coutures for (among other things) mocking him as stage manager. Tiara Moore, portraying the protective Wendy, has a crush on Santino, as well as her own set of reasons for disliking the Coutures. Tripp Taleb, who also has eyes for Santino, and Oscar Romero, who is interested in Tripp, share similar disdain for the family. Which leaves technical director — and religious fundamentalist — Jax Jun, who was also subject to the Coutures' ridicule.

As Nicky and Noah gleefully roleplay as Holmes and Watson, the reader is treated to the customary antics: Masterful disguises, unrelenting metaphors, accidental romance, incorrigible innuendo, and detailed dietary descriptions. Despite the familiar, always enjoyable formula, Cosentino manages to keep the reader breathlessly anticipating the killer's identity, and this particular culprit is arguably the most shocking of the entire series.

With summer on the horizon, "Drama Pan" is a quintessential beach read, as well as a cozy mystery and tantalizing thriller.


"Drama Pan: A Nicky and Noah Mystery," by Joe Cosentino, is available at joecosentino.weebly.com/nicky--noah.html

Chris is a voracious reader and unapologetic theater geek from Narragansett, Rhode Island.