Donald Strachey Mysteries

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Name: The Donald Strachey Mysteries
Abbreviation(s): DSM
Creator: Richard Stevenson (books)
Ron Oliver (films)
Date(s): (books) 1981 – 2023
(films) 2005 – 2008
Medium: Books, Television
Country of Origin: USA
External Links: (wayback 20 Aug 2008 - 31 May 2013)
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The Donald Strachey Mysteries technically refers to the movies produced by Ron Oliver, although the title is used by fans to collectively refer to the books by Richard Stevenson as well.[1]

Background on both main characters is contradictory between the books and the movies; writers in the fandom often use a mix of both, or exclusively use movie canon.

a door decoration at 2013 MediaWest*Con

Starting in 2005, Here TV started filming the Donald Strachey mysteries. Skipping Death Trick, they filmed the next four books in the series, but not in order. The books do stand alone, and so do the movies. Third Man Out, the fourth novel, was the first movie Here TV filmed. In 2006, they added Shock to the System. And in 2008 both Ice Blues and On the Other Hand, Death.[2]

Fan Comments: 2012

From the editorial of Love Noir #2 (2012):

The early 1980s saw the first appearance of Richard Stevenson’s great detective series The Donald Strachey Mysteries. The adventures of Donald, Albany’s gay detective, and his beloved partner Timmy Callahan, debuted—and eleven novels and nearly thirty years later, I can confidently say the world of genre fiction has never been the same! But it is wise to remember that the early books of yesteryear are not the TV movies of the 21st century that we have come to know and love: An early paperback depicted a scene of Donald and Timmy kissing, only to be met by characters who looked on in antipathy: a similar kissing scene in the films elicited a sigh of bliss as a group of young women beheld the romantic embrace of our heroes. And now fandom takes the evolution of the Donald/Timmy relationship even further, often giving us the “full monty” that was only hinted at in the movies before an artful “fade to black.”

Books and other media

Donald Strachey Mysteries Book Series

  1. Death Trick (1981)
  2. On the Other Hand, Death (1984)
  3. Ice Blues (1986)
  4. Third Man Out (1992)
  5. Shock to the System (1995)
  6. Chain of Fools (1996)
  7. Strachey's Folly (1998)
  8. Tongue Tied (2003)
  9. Death Vows (2008)
  10. The 38 Million Dollar Smile (2009)
  11. Cockeyed (2010)
  12. Red White Black and Blue (2011)
  13. The Last Thing I Saw (2012)
  14. Why Stop at Vengeance (2015)
  15. WWW.Dropdead (2016)
  16. Killer Reunion (2019)
  17. Chasing Rembrandt (2023)[3][4]


  • Third Man Out (2005)
  • Shock to the System (2006)
  • On the Other Hand, Death (2008)
  • Ice Blues (2008)

Brief Canon Overview

Donald Strachey is a gay man, living in Albany, New York. He is a private investigator, and his clients often feel that his sexual orientation makes him more sympathetic to cases involving the LGBT Community.

  • Book canon: Donald was previously employed in Army Intelligence and then at the Robert Morgart Agency, a large investigation firm in New York city. He was also married, is now divorced, and at the start of the books, has been involved with Timothy J Callahan[5] for three years, although they are not exclusive and have separate apartments. During the course of the books, they move in together and become more or less monogamous. Little is known about his family.
  • Movie canon: Donald was once in the Army but was discharged when he and his lover, Kyle, were discovered. Kyle subsequently committed suicide, and both incidences continued to haunt Donald through the first two movies. Donald and Timmy are living together from the start and consider themselves married, wearing wedding bands on their right ring fingers.

Timothy Callahan is Donald's partner and a legislative aide to a New York state senator.

  • Book canon:[citation needed]
  • Movie canon: Timothy is estranged from his father because he "switched sides", from Republican to Democrat. His mother is still close, and sends him and Donald ugly sweaters at Christmas. Tim's sister, Kelly, was estranged from both parents and left home, and Timmy hadn't seen her or talked to her for years at the time of "Ice Blues".


Example Fanworks


cover of Love Noir #1, artist is Lorraine Brevig
inside art by Jean Kluge for Love Noir #1
cover art by Lorraine Brevig for Love Noir #2


  • Handyman by NyteFlyer, Donald Strachey really hates summer in the city, and he really, really hates their new handyman. He does have a thing for cherry Popsicles, however.
(Part 1, Part 2)



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