Stevenson, Richard. “Shock to the System”, The Haworth Press, 2007.
Our gay private eye is back and if not as good as before, he is even better. “Shock to the System” deals with whether a man’s death was actually suicide or murder and the read is very wicked fun.
Three different people ask Strachey to prove that the recent suicide by a gay man was not suicide at all but that he was murdered. The three want the person caught and convicted of murder and as Strachey begins to unravel the mystery, the reader is glued to his seat reading and guessing while being entertained completely.
The police label the death of Paul Haig as a suicide. He supposedly overdosed on liquor mixed with prescription drugs. Haig’s mother, however, believes that he was murdered and that the man who committed the crime was her dead son’s lover. On the other hand, the lover insists that it was indeed murder that ended his lover’s life and that the murderer was actually a psychiatrist whose practice was changing homosexuals to heterosexuals. The doctor, of course, insists that he did not commit the crime (he has no alibi) and is very interested in knowing who did the deed.
Leave it to our man Strachey to solve the mystery and as he does so the reader has a lot of fun following the plot through its twists and turns. The real fun starts when Strachey discovers that there is a common link between Haig’s mother, Haig’s lover, and Haig’s psychiatrist. We soon see that the doctor and the mother harbor great hatred for homosexuals but is that enough to make either of them cold-blooded killers?
Again, Stevenson writes a strong social commentary while providing his reader with some real fun. I have never been a real mystery fan but I am slowly becoming one by reading the Donald Strachey Mysteries. Not only do they give us stories filled with suspense, they allow us to have a good hard look at the world I which we live. That in itself is no easy job and Stevenson does t beautifully. I can’t wait to read the entire seri