A New Strachey That Resonates with Our Times

- A Short Book Review, Mike Learned, RPCV, Malawi

Richard Stevenson Novel

by Richard Stevenson

Longtime LGBT RPCV member (Ethiopia) and contributor to our website, Dick Lipez (writing under his pen name Richard Stevenson) is out with his twelfth Donald Strachey mystery. He began the series 29 years ago. One of the things I’ve always liked about the Strachey mysteries/novels is how Lipez weaves in current cultural upheavals in our LGBT and political world. His latest Red, White, Black and Blue is right on about the current political turmoil staring us in the face. I asked Lipez when he had actually written this latest. Most of it was written late last year (2010) and finished off early this year while he was visiting Thailand with his husband, the sculptor Joe Wheaton.

Much of the story revolves around a somewhat reinvention of New York state politics leading up to the 2010 election. Not only does it include the dark and kinky past of one of the candidates up for the primary election for governor, but the opportunism and manipulation of both the candidate and the Tea Partiers who give him their support. It is as though Lipez was able to predict the vitriolic polarization of the political scene we are now experiencing. Was he looking into a crystal ball and seeing the future?

As one might guess from the title, the dark and kinky events deal with physical abuse, brutalization and exploitation of a vulnerable young man. These revelations spur our protagonist, Donald Strachey, on. He hires a hacker to dig out online information, and impersonates others to dig out the truth.

As always, Don’s longtime partner Timothy Callahan keeps him focused. Tim had been a Peace Corps Volunteer earlier on, so there’s usually a mention of Peace Corps in the books which helps explain Tim’s equanimity and calm. Lipez has been quoted saying about the series that he wants to, “show gay men leading reasonably well-adjusted lives.” Well, reasonably well-adjusted for a long time private eye and his calming partner.

It used to be that the Strachey mysteries were readily available at your local LGBT bookstores. Now that these venues are almost all gone, this new book is available (including a Kindle edition) from Amazon. It looks like all the earlier books in the series are also available. They’re all great reads.

About LGBT RPCV
We are an organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and others who are Peace Corps volunteer alumni, current volunteers, former and current staff members and friends. Founded in Washington D.C. in 1991, we have several hundred members throughout the country and around the world who have served in Peace Corps since its beginning in 1961. We're made up of a national steering committee, together with regional chapters. We are an active affiliate member of the National Peace Corps Association.

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