Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Death Trick (Donald Strachey, #1)” as Want to Read:
Death Trick (Donald Strachey, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Death Trick (Donald Strachey #1)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  629 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
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, New York. In fact, this gay P.I. has gotten to the point of having to write ch ...more
Paperback, 199 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Harrington Park Press (first published 1981)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Death Trick, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Jordan Lombard Yes, a little bit. Donald and Timmy are already in a committed relationship at the start of the first book, so this isn't a romance novel, in the…moreYes, a little bit. Donald and Timmy are already in a committed relationship at the start of the first book, so this isn't a romance novel, in the traditional sense. There are some romantic parts that come along every now and then and some sexy scenes to be sure. Hope this helps.(less)
Cut & Run by Abigail RouxThe Dark Tide by Josh LanyonZero at the Bone by Jane SevilleDeath of a Pirate King by Josh LanyonFatal Shadows / A Dangerous Thing by Josh Lanyon
Best Gay Mystery
623 books — 643 voters
Maurice by E.M. ForsterBrokeback Mountain by Annie ProulxThe Song of Achilles by Madeline MillerThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeGiovanni's Room by James     Baldwin
Best Gay Fiction
1,608 books — 2,068 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default

Guys, I've found a new great mystery series and I'm very happy about it!

The 13 existed instalments make already my blood boil and my pulse race!

In spite of the fact that the first book in the series was published in 1981(??!!), it is such a refreshing and surprisingly very up-to-date read! I don't know why I have never heard about Donald Strachey before, because a few instalments have already been made into a TV-film with Chad Allen in the main role. Yes, it is him.

The plot of the first book r
Jan 30, 2008 added it
Probably the first gay mystery I read that had a sense of humor without being stupid.
Mare SLiTsReaD Reviews
I liked it. The sarcasm is totally up my alley
Feb 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book in Richard Stevenson' s Don Strachey's mysteries.I was feeling very nostalgic and felt like reading these mysteries from the very beginning.I had the paperbacks which I got from a wonderful little mystery book store that is sadly gone.I no longer have the paperbacks of the series,all of them were falling apart and worn.I decided to replace them and start reading them on my Nook.Don Strachey's mysteries take place and were written in the preAIDS era.Don is a PI with a quick ...more
Feb 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: challenge, owned-are

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
Mar 23, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
Deanna Against Censorship
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
Jan 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
As another reviewer stated, this book doesn't feel it's age. Not really. Or maybe I'm simply old enough to remember appreciate the slightly retro feel. As a detective novel, Death Trick works. I suspected everyone right up until the final twisty reveal. I also liked just about everyone, which made my suspicion feel a bit greasy. Great characters. What I liked best about this book, though, was the glimpse of the gay scene circa 1980. The setting felt wonderfully authentic.
Jul 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 04, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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...)
Oct 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Okay...I'm hooked on a new to me mystery series!
Adam Dunn
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: glbt
It's hard to know what to rate this, between 3 and 4 stars I'd say. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and go with four as I feel bad I haven't read this earlier.
I love gay mystery and detective and this is the longest running series. I think the Brandstetter series has more volumes, but this one is close. I had seen the TV movies and really enjoyed them a lot, I can't wait to go back and re-watch them. That being said there was an element of them I didn't like, all of the moralizing about be
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
I saw the four Strachey movies back in 2009 and 10 and enjoyed them a lot. Only just now getting around to reading the series. This is the first and, as the author points out in his forward the ebook reissue, dates back to the pre-AIDS world. The mystery itself is complicated enough to be interesting, though I saw some of the twists coming and still felt he earned them when they did. Don and Tim are a bit of a gay Nick and Nora Charles-like couple and provide a sane context in the not-so-sane wo ...more
Tex Reader
3.5 of 5 stars – Decent Start of an Entertaining Stevenson/Strachey Series.

I love gay mysteries and romances, and this first book did a decent job of combining both to start one of the more entertaining such series. I can see why it continues to this day (Richard Stevenson is currently working on #15!). I liked this for the same reasons I liked each in the series. With crisp, witty writing, it’s a decent mystery, set in the energized post-Stonewall era, and brought to life by a colorful, hard-bo
Jul 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt, mystery, historical
Well written and enjoyable, this book does an excellent job of transporting you to the gay scene of the late 70s, early 80s. The change between then and now, is interesting and, for those not acquainted with the scene at the time, can be somewhat amazing.

Donald is an intelligent, quick thinking smart-mouthed, and somewhat straight-seeming detective. At various points in the novel his sexuality is questioned and I loved seeing his responses each time. The majority of the supp
Molli B.
I've had this book forever, and I even started it back when I got it. But I'm kind of glad that I ended up leaving it half finished until now. Now it fits in nicely with my current Brandstetter and Nick Nowak obsessions. And there are 14 of them to read. Fourteen!!

I consider this a bit "looser" than Brandstetter and Nick Nowak. All three of the guys are funny in their own ways, but some of the stuff in this borders on comedy in what is, I'm pleased, a not-annoying way. It feels like Stevenson wa
Linda ~ chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny ~
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
Dec 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
MLR 12 days of Christmas feebie 16.12.14
3.5 stars rounded up

Pre falling into the syrup pit of M/M (romance or otherwise) that I can't get out of my reading fell into three categories, historicals, fantasy & crime. The crime tended heavily to female protags, particularly PI's. So I was used to a non mainstream PI when I started this. The book was written and is set in around 1979 and it does feel, well, not dated, but of it's time (which is a whole other point - how far back does a story need
Dec 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first heard of the Donald Strachey mysteries from the TV movies starring Chad Allen. I liked the movies, so I decided to try the books.
Death Trick was written in 1979. Before AIDS changed everything about gay life. This book is a time capsule to a long-gone era. During the narration, the protagonist, private investigator Don Strachey, keeps us informed of the songs that are playing on the local disco radio station, the songs playing in the bars and discos where the action takes place. We see t
Jan 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Joe Scholes
Oct 18, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
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
Dec 05, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, glbt
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
Dec 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
C. A.  Van Zant
Mar 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Death Trick by Richard Stevenson - wrong page number 2 24 Feb 04, 2013 05:26AM  
  • Mahu (Mahu #1)
  • Little Boy Dead (Boystown #0.5)
  • All She Wrote (Holmes & Moriarity, #2)
  • Fadeout (Dave Brandstetter, #1)
  • Foxe Tail (Skyler Foxe Mystery, #1)
  • Closet (Todd Mills Mystery #1)
  • Rag and Bone (Henry Rios Mystery, #7)
  • Deadly Nightshade (Deadly Mystery, #1)
  • Primal Red (Bellingham Mysteries, #1)
  • A Deadly Game (A Nick Fallon Investigation, #1)
  • First You Fall (Kevin Connor Mystery #1)
  • His Name Is John (Elliott Smith #1)
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 about Richard Stevenson...

Other Books in the Series

Donald Strachey (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • 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)
  • Strachey's Folly (Donald Strachey, #7)
  • Tongue Tied (Donald Strachey, #8)
  • Death Vows (Donald Strachey, #9)
  • The 38 Million Dollar Smile (Donald Strachey, #10)
  • Cockeyed (Donald Strachey, #11)
“I like you less when you don't like yourself.” 4 likes
More quotes…