Lipez, Richard 1938-
LIPEZ, Richard 1938-
PERSONAL: Born November 30, 1938, in Lock Haven, PA; son of Harris (a radio station manager) and Helen (Seltzer) Lipez; married Hedy Harris, 1968 (marriage ended c. 1989); companion of Joe Wheaton (a sculptor), since 1990; children: Sydney, Zachary. Education: Lock Haven State College, B.A., 1961; graduate study at Pennsylvania State University. Politics: Democrat.
ADDRESSES: Home—161 Otis Rd., Otis, MA 01253.
CAREER: Journalist. Peace Corps, volunteer in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 1962-64, program evaluator in Washington, DC, 1964-67; Action for Opportunity, Pittsfield, MA, executive director, 1968-70; freelance writer, 1970—. Berkshire Eagle, editorial writer.
Contributor of articles and stories to periodicals, including Harper's, Newsday, Washington Post, Progressive, Atlantic, New Times, Redbook, and Newsweek; contributor of reviews to Washington Post.
"STRACHEY" MYSTERY SERIES; UNDER PSEUDONYM RICHARD STEVENSON
Death Trick, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1981.
On the Other Hand, Death, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1984.
Ice Blues, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1986.
Third Man Out, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1993.
Shock to the System, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1995.
Chain of Fools, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1996.
Strachey's Folly, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1998.
Tongue Tied, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: Richard Lipez has written a series of mystery novels under the pseudonym Richard Stevenson. These novels, featuring gay private investigator Donald Strachey and his lover, Timothy Callahan, are "some of the funniest, smartest PI novels around," according to D. L. Browne in an online review for Thrilling Detective. "The guy is just a terrific writer! Maybe even brilliant."
As might be expected, gay characters and issues appear throughout each one of the "Donald Strachey" books. In Third Man Out, for example, John Rutka, a gay activist, is on a crusade to "out" gays in his community who refuse to come out publicly. When Rutka turns up dead, Strachey must sort through the many suspects to find the killer. A Shock to the System concerns Dr. Crockwell, a psychiatrist who cures gays who want to change their lives. But when former patient Paul Haig, the son of a wealthy and politically prominent family, is found murdered, the police name Crockwell as a prime suspect, while Haig's mother insists that her son's lover is to blame. Strachey's Folly finds the detective, Timothy, and Peace Corps friend Maynard Sudbury visiting the AIDS quilt in Washington, D.C. The quilt includes a panel for each of those who have died of AIDS. The trio are startled to find a political writer back home memorialized on the quilt, although they know for certain the man is alive and healthy. Soon after, the quilt is vandalized, Maynard is shot, and Strachey must fight local police bias and political corruption to unravel the mystery. Whitney Scott of Booklist called Strachey's Folly "a gripping, fast-paced mystery."
Two constants in the "Strachey" books, a critic for Publishers Weekly explained, are "Strachey's customary wry humor and engaging at-home scenes with lover Timmy." Charles Harmon in Booklist acknowledged that "the detective's tranquilly domestic relationship with his longtime lover stands in refreshing contrast to affairs in most other gay novels, with their less contented leading characters."
Speaking of the series as a whole, Browne summed up: "Stevenson is one of the best PI writers out there. I suspect his Don Strachey series isn't taken as seriously as it should be . . . because they're so funny. Funny, yes, but smart. And you don't have to be gay to enjoy Stevenson's clever, crafty mysteries. True, the books are often political in theme, but the tone is non-strident and convincing."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 15, 1992, Ray Olson, review of Third Man Out, p. 1092; January 1, 1996, Charles Harmon, review of A Shock to the System, p. 798; November 1, 1996, Charles Harmon, review of Chain of Fools, p. 483; June 1, 1998, Whitney Scott, review of Strachey's Folly, p. 1735.
Lambda Book Report, May-June, 1992, Austin Wallace, review of Third Man Out, p. 46.
Library Journal, March 1, 1986, Jo Ann Vicarel, review of Ice Blues, p. 111; July, 1998, Rex E. Klett, review of Strachey's Folly, p. 141.
New York Times Book Review, October 14, 1984, Newgate Callendar, review of On the Other Hand, Death, p. 46; May 18, 1986, review of Ice Blues, p. 38.
Publishers Weekly, June 15, 1984, review of On the Other Hand, Death, p. 75; January 17, 1986, review of Ice Blues, p. 63; December 20, 1991, review of Third Man Out, p. 67; November 20, 1995, review of A Shock to the System, p. 69.
Wilson Library Bulletin, June, 1986, Kathleen Maio, review of Ice Blues, p. 68.
Richard Stevenson Mysteries Web site,http://members.aol.com/FansPage/ (April 18, 2003).
Thrilling Detective,http://www.thrillingdetective.com/ (December, 2002), D. L. Browne, review of "Strachey" series.