|Third Man Out
|Harrington Park Press
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The ‘Third man Out’ reads like a bad headline in a tabloid about a cricket match at Lords: thankfully however Richard Stevenson’s, Donaly Strachey mystery, is anything but!
The story centres around the ethical question and decision of whether gay activists should “Out” closeted public figures, and in particular those who do damage to the LGBT community through actions or inaction.
I am not a philosophy major, and after the numerous newspaper articles showing high profile figures being caught literally with their fingers, if not something else, in the cookie jar, I will leave the rights or wrongs of “outing” to you as an individual.
But back to the story: it is a story set in the broadest terms of a gay community, with a loosely classified reporter being killed (murdered) for running an outing column. Enter Don Strachey, whose similarity to the creations of writers such as Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and Mickey Spillane is compelling. Strachey cannot be ignored, as with so many noir detectives. The story noir has all the integral parts, murder, mystery, lies, cheating, big wigs, little wigs – apart from the central them of the story being set in ‘gay and’, it could be an offshoot of the Big Sleep.
There is for a change a non-stupid police chief, who uses Strachey to do his hunting, and of course, the insurance payout.
Set within the story are the second thread, that of a gay man dying from AIDs, and of his family and his lover. This story is tangential and apart from Strachey and his partner/lover has little impact on the main crime. But what it does show is AIDs at that time, people’s understanding of the disease and its impact and also a moral decision that may have to be taken.
Of course, just like those great noir detectives of old, Strachey solves the crime and the murder, for they are two different things.
I am not going to give away the ending. You are invited to read a well-crafted story with believable characters, and I will be looking for the other books and also for the movies now available on DVD with Chad Allen as the lead.
Wikipedia – Noir Fiction