Death Trick by Richard Stevenson

Donald Strachey Mysteries

MLR Press

Gay Mystery

ISBN: 978-1-934531-91-4

Reviewed by Cassie



When Donald Strachey is hired to find a couple’s missing son, he immediately knows something strange is going on.  The son, William “Billy” Blount, is under suspicion for murder, but the parents don’t seem as upset about that as they should be.  Strachey agrees to take the case because he needs the money and both the alleged murderer and the victim are gay, but he plans to investigate the murder as well as Billy’s disappearance. 

Once he begins investigating the case, Strachey realizes it’s much more complicated than even he expected.  With the police working against him and a murderer on the loose, can Strachey solve the murder before it’s too late?

Death Trick is the first Donald Strachey mystery, and while they don’t have to be read in order it would probably be nice.  I wish I’d had that option, since Death Trick sets up the other books nicely.  At any rate, just like all the Strachey mysteries I’ve read, Death Trick is a twisting, action-packed puzzler of a mystery.  The setting, Albany in the late disco era, is fascinating.  Strachey, in all his flawed glory, is equally fascinating.  He’s a mass of contradictions: he wants Timothy, yet monogamy is very difficult for him; he cares about justice but doesn’t care how he gets it, and he is ambivalent about his ex-wife.  Timothy is his voice of reason, as well as his refuge.  The secondary characters are well-written as well.

 The mystery kept me guessing throughout the entire book.  What I really liked about Death Trick is that, like the other books in the series, Richard Stevenson made me care about Donald Strachey and Timothy despite their flaws and their odd relationship (well, it seems odd to me, but maybe not to a lot of other people!).  If you like a little mystery with your romance, or infidelity is an absolute no-no to you, then you probably shouldn’t pick up Death Trick, or any of the other Strachey Mysteries.  If, however, you’re like me and like a good old-fashioned mystery with a bit of romance, and you can get past Strachey’s often unconventional morality, then Death Trick is well worth a read.


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