Death Trick (Donald Strachey #1)
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Death Trick (Donald Strachey #1)

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  390 ratings  ·  39 reviews
It's 1979, the height of the post-Stonewall era of gay sexual liberation, and a young man has been brutally murdered. The gay son of a wealthy family has disappeared. Now it's up to private dick Don Strachey to get to the bottom of this mess--even if he has to cruise every gay bar in the city to do it!

Don Strachey isn't exactly the most sought-after private eye in Albany,...more
Published April 7th 2000 by Alyson Books (first published 1981)
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Probably the first gay mystery I read that had a sense of humor without being stupid.
Loved it!

It's your classic pulp detective mystery, sure. But it wasn't exactly predictable. The writing was economical, the story suspenseful, and the ending was satisfying.

What most grabbed me, as a reader, was the casual conversations between characters in the bars and concerning gay life in general. It felt like, despite being 30 years ago, these were conversations I'd have with my friends today. In fact, there were several instances I could swear I've had those exact exchanges with friends o...more
Mar 23, 2009 Jane rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jane by: fandom osmosis
Some comments:

- The case in Death Trick is later referenced in Tongue Tied (so the time span between these two books is 1979 to 2000?).
- Death Trick is a bit graphic than the others; there's one explicit sex scene between the protagonist and a minor character of the book.
- Death Trick is the first book published in the Donald Strachey series.

As first book goes, Death Trick is a great opener, with a right touch of suspense, intrigue and character development.
Death Trick is the first novel in the Donald Strachey Mysteries series by Richard Stevenson.

I admit that I bought the book because it's a "gay mystery" i.e. it features a gay detective. Usually, these books are full of sex, even porny, and the plot itself takes the backseat, but this book is an exception to this rule. It proved to be a very intriguing story with some very unexpected twists and turns.

Also, even though it's a mystery book, I used the "historical" tag here. This book takes place...more

Intriguing gay mystery set in the late 1970’s. Not a genre romance, although the main character has a boyfriend.

Don Strachey, private eye, is hired by the wealthy society parents of a murder suspect who has gone on the lam. They want Don only to find their son, not to prove his innocence. As the investigation proceeds, Don learns that his clients have arranged for Billy to be admitted to a psychiatric clinic to “cure” his homosexuality. His sympathies entirely with Billy, Don tries to find him w...more
Summary : Donald Strachey murder mystery: Don is hired by Billy Blount's parents to get him out of an awkward and embarrassing situation: he's accused of murder. In their minds, though, the fact he's gay is of much greater consequence. It soon becomes Don's intention not to just find Billy, but to prove he's innocent of all charges.

My review: This is one of the better Strachey books, I think. I really enjoyed this one, with it's fast and loose narrative and characters too likeable to hold their...more
A mystery that took me back to the 70's. A murder mystery set in a lifestyle that existed before Aids. A well written mystery with entertaining characters, some likeable and some not. Don Strachey is a licensed detective who is gay and is very funny. He is also a very good detective. I did not feel any true emotion between him and his lover, Timmy. There did not seem to be anything between them except occasional sex. Strachey seemed to feel more emotion for many others than for Timmy. This was a...more
This is the first of the Donald Strachey mystery novels, a series about a gay private investigator in Albany, NY (I know, right?). They're being made into a series of movies for Canadian TV/the here! channel. I saw the first movie and liked it, so I went looking for the books.

The most notable thing about the book vs. the movie is the era - the book was written in 1978 or 1979, just before the AIDS epidemic, and the characters are definitely characters of that time, where in the movies they belon...more
This was a fun read. I loved the voice of Donald, he's a wiseass, snarky bastard. Timmy was sweet and there were a lot of funny moments in amongst all the murder and mayhem. The mystery itself was well-plotted. The police sergeant Donald works with is something else, but thankfully not as bad as some of the others we meet along the way. I was barely walking when this book was written, I didn't understand about 90% of the references, which dampened my enjoyment somewhat. I know maybe three disco...more
Joe Scholes
I first became aware of the Donald Strachey series when the movies came out starring Chad Allen. Those movies did not start with the very first novel, which is this one. I decided to start from the beginning. I enjoyed the book quite a bit. It was fairly well written and I liked the story and the characters. It captured the time period quite well, a time I remember in the 70s, although I was much too young to have experienced anything like the gay life depicted in this novel.

I'll move on to the...more
The first of the Donald Strachey Mysteries about gay PI Strachey. His cases always include some interaction with the gay community, and the eight books (soon to be a ninth) span the decades from 1980 through 2005, so it's fascinating to "go back in time" and see some of the major differences in technology especially. (Not to mention that the first book was written pre-AIDS.) The mysteries themselves are fairly run-of-the-mill, but are made infinitely readable by the wisecracking humor of the pro...more
The atmosphere of this was interesting, particularly as a look at gay male culture in the New York area pre-AIDS (although I kept wincing every time various unsafe practices were discussed-- I'm definitely a product of my generation in that I can't remember a time when that wouldn't have been a concern). That being said, it wasn't that engaging a mystery-- the characterization's a bit shallow and cliched. I actually found the movies based on this series more entertaining, I must confess-- probab...more
Richard Stevenson created a wonderful character, Donald Strachey, that the reader can relate to, cheer with and just let go and enjoy the ride. This is the first book in the series Stevenson created. Always fun to start with the first one, it sets the characters. (I usually like to read in order. In fact, I'm kinda obsessed with that but I made an exception with this series as the titles are mostly out of print and I'm rummaging thru online used bookstores for the them). This mystery is set in 1...more
Well, let's start off by saying that I put this on my Historical shelf because it's just enough outside of contemporary to feel that way to me. There were a lot of 1970's references in it that had me lost. I ended up just glossing over those instead of looking them up.

The mystery wasn't bad. But it felt like there was a whole lot of talking going on and not very exciting. I finished it, so there's a plus, but I was dragging a bit trying to get through it.

I didn't feel very connected to the chara...more
It wasnt until I purchased this book and read the forward by the author that I realised when this book was actualy Writen and first published.

I came to know the Donald Strachey books through the movies created by Here.

This book relates to a time pre aids, when homosexuality was still considered by many to be an ilness and indead some institutions believed that is could be cured. And this book uses these insights to further the story.

This is a real detective story where the main detective is st...more
Not the best in terms of mystery but the setting is worth it. It was fun trying to remember if I know the songs mentioned in the text and googling references.
C. A.  Van Zant
I downloaded this book and the next one in the series, "On the Other Hand, Death" for my partner. He wanted me to choose a few "mysteries" on to the Nook. I remember seeing the movies based on these books, I thought I would give them a shot. He had not looked at them but I checked out "Death Trick". My expectations were not high; I was immediately interested, then carried along for a good ride. I did not devour this one like I do so many books. I wanted to take my time to enjoy the scenery of Al...more
Kay Sachse
The first of the Strachey mysteries, this is. But it wasn´t the first of the Strachey books I read, so I already knew the characters.
Set in the early 80´s this is the story of homophobic parents, homophobic society and a gay society before the Aids epidemic kicked in. A young man runs after his trick of the night ends up dead in bed. While the police thinks he´s guilty, Strachey who was hired by the young man´s parents, thinks otherwise. A compelling story with moving parts that sets you thinki...more
This was a pretty enjoyable book. Light, sometimes funny, good suspense, some friendly and engaging entertainment. Sympathetic characters, good atmosphere and although it was written in '81, it doesn't feel dated.
What did annoy me a little was the shoddy editing. In the middle of the bock about 4 pages just repeated themselves and there where quite a few typos. Just the last two chapters must have had at least 4 obvious type-setting mistakes. Which is a shame, considering that the book was other...more
This book is like a 40s/50s noir novel with a biting 70s sense of humor. Strachey is a pretty delightful protagonist, conflicted about all manner of things but overall pretty comfortable with his life--a nice change from the usual jaded loner in a lot of detective fiction. The last page before the throw-away epilogue contains what felt to me like a major misstep, and Strachey has trans issues pretty typical of his time, but I'm willing to overlook these quibbles and add the rest of the series to...more
Dec 19, 2007 Paxnirvana rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: gay-friendly readers
Delightfully smart mystery writing. With a delicious and intriguing view of gay lifestyle in the bliss of pre-AIDS 1979.

Wonderful main character. Wry and quick and sharp with the retort, but not utterly hard-boiled. The social insights are spot on. The preaching, minimalist and well integrated into the story. More in the painful, aching, oh-god-they-did (and sometimes still do) kind of way.

I'm going to hunt down all the rest in this series now... and LOOK! there's a sexy DVD series too. Mmmmm. Y...more
Bryl Tyne
Nov 20, 2008 Bryl Tyne rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all mystery readers
Well, I have to say that I enjoyed reading my first Donald Strachey Mystery. Stevenson's writing is exciting and well-planned, funny, sexy, and clever. I loved the characters, and was hooked by Strachey's sarcastic wit from page one!

Stevenson's Strachey Mysteries focus on the world from a gay detective's perspective. If you don't mind a few sensual scenes the mystery is well worth the read.
Sean Kennedy
(3.5 / 5)

Definitely a book of its time, so those coming from the here! TV movies may be put off by the differences.

One major note: the formatting on the ebooks by MLR is atrocious. There are changes to italics for pages, no page breaks, change in font size, and at times even broken code works its way into the text. Why have they done nothing to fix this?
John Carter
Good story, good writing, good narrative voice. Two drawbacks though: one—many of the minor characters are not well-characterized, so when you come across a name it’s difficult to remember if you’re dealing with a peripheral character or someone you should recognize; and two—they needed a much better SPAG beta than they got.
Feb 27, 2011 Blaine rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all mystery lovers
I loved this.
The writing just sweeps you along and it paints such a clear picture of gay life in Albany in the (late) 70s. Great characters too, especially the no nonsense, blunt, but getting the job done, private detective Donald Strachey and the people he surrounds himself with.
Definitely makes me want to read more.
In 1979, in the state of New York, a private detective is hired (because he's gay) to find a missing person who has been accused of the murder of his male lover. A murder mystery with social commentary, humor, and an upclose view of the large --and yet small-- gay community.
Feb 24, 2012 Punk marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, queer, ebook
eBook: DRM-free epub purchased from Kobo. Has a cover, wonky line-spacing, OCR errors, and inexplicably large swaths of text completely in bold, as well as the usual Kobo code bloat that makes it difficult to edit the stylesheet in order to fix these problems. It took me several hours to make it readable.
very good book ,I hope the rest of the series is like this . The plots seem a little cliche but fun, IT WAS simple enough to keep track of . If your not a mystery expert, and if you are like me ,and have problems keeping up with all the info your being feed I would recommend to start here.
3.5 stars. Good gay mystery set in Albany in 1979, when things were wild pre-HIV. Donald Strachey's been hired by the parents of a missing gay man suspected of murder, but nothing is quite adding up about the case. (This is such a weird cover! Pretty sure there wasn't a dog in the book...)
Not bad for an undemanding read though not terribly engrossing either, probably due to lack of reader investment in the prime suspect and crime victims. Strachey, however, holds promise.
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Goodreads Librari...: Death Trick by Richard Stevenson - wrong page number 2 24 Feb 04, 2013 05:26AM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Richard Stevenson is the pseudonym of Richard Lipez, the author of nine books, including the Don Strachey private eye series. The Strachey books are being filmed by here!, the first gay television network. Lipez also co-wrote Grand Scam with Peter Stein, and contributed to C...more
More about Richard Stevenson...
On the Other Hand, Death (Donald Strachey #2) Ice Blues (Donald Strachey, #3) Third Man Out (Donald Strachey, #4) Shock to the System (Donald Strachey, #5) Chain of Fools (Donald Strachey, #6)

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