NEW YORK (CNS) — Whenever Steve Martin and Martin Short work together, slapstick and belly laughs seem like predictable results. So the fact that the duo headlines the Hulu series, "Only Murders in the Building" may lead many to expect this mystery tale to be a comedy. While it certainly has its amusing moments, however, the show is primarily an entertaining whodunit.

The first three of the program's 10 half-hour episodes are streaming now. New installments will appear each Tuesday through Oct. 19.

Martin, who also co-created the series with John Hoffman, plays Charles, a retired actor. Though he gained fame as a television detective, Charles now leads a solitary existence in the Arconia, a Dakota-like luxury apartment building on Manhattan's Upper West Side, where he's surrounded by mementoes of his former career.

Charles is obsessed with true-crime stories, listening to podcasts and trying to unravel their mysteries before the solution is revealed. But he feels comfortably removed from such malign events.

"As any true crime aficionado will tell you, it's the boondocks you have to worry about," he explains. "Let's face it: Nobody ever discovered 19 bodies buried in the backyard of a 14-story apartment build-ing."

Well, not so fast: Charles is alarmed — but a bit thrilled, too — when Tim (Julian Chi), a widely disliked fellow resident of the Arconia, is found dead in his home. The police rule his demise a suicide, but Charles has his doubts.

So, too, do two of his neighbors, both loners like Charles who also happen to listen to the same pod-casts he does. Oliver (Short) is a flamboyant theater director who has never recovered from helming Broadway's biggest flop, making him a pariah in the industry. Mabel (Selena Gomez) is an attractive 20-something who is apartment-sitting for her wealthy aunt — and harboring a big secret.

Convinced that Tim was murdered, this unlikely trio of amateur sleuths bands together to solve the case. They comb the Arconia for clues, interviewing residents and assembling a list of suspects. The most famous of these is the musician Sting, playing himself.

Oliver sees a path to professional redemption in the exercise. While documenting the team's progress online, he succeeds in convincing a chicken-farming mogul, Teddy Dimas (Nathan Lane), to come on board as an investor in a proposed stage version.

Based on the episodes reviewed, the violence showcased in the program is mild. But sexual innuendo, together with profane and crude dialogue, make it most suitable for an adult audience.

Together with their quartet of co-writers, Martin and Hoffman enjoy poking fun at the quirks and eccentricities of the Big Apple's apartment dwellers. And the diverse array of characters they introduce recalls the lighthearted 2019 big-screen murder-mystery "Knives Out."

There's no particular message — in a bottle or otherwise — to be taken away from the proceedings. But, for grown viewers at least, there is considerable diversion to be savored.