Book Reviews

The Stranger Diaries: a gripping Gothic mystery perfect for dark autumn nights by Elly Griffiths

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List Price: £8.99


Kindle Edition: 416 Pages.

Published: 01 November 2018 by Quercus



A gripping contemporary Gothic thriller from the bestselling author of the Dr Ruth Galloway mysteries: Wilkie Collins and MR James meet Gone Girl and Disclaimer.

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the Gothic writer RM Holland, she teaches a short course on it every year. Then Clare's life and work collide tragically when one of her colleagues is found dead, a line from an RM Holland story by her body. The investigating police detective is convinced the writer's works somehow hold the key to the case.

Not knowing who to trust, and afraid that the killer is someone she knows, Clare confides her darkest suspicions and fears about the case to her journal. Then one day she notices some other writing in the diary. Writing that isn't hers..


4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars  by Debra Found

Unusual Writing

Ella, an english teacher at the local comprehensive is murdered. Naturally the police investigate her department and friends. Clare Cassidy was her best friend and colleague in the english department. As the investigations progress Claire finds writing in her diary which isn't hersĀ  and then there is another murder........

I am a big fan of Elly Griffiths work having read all the Stephens & Mephisto as well as the Dr Ruth Galloway. I very much enjoyed this book being in a slightly different direction to those. I do hope that it is intended as the beginning of a series as I would be very happy to see the policewoman, Harbinder, again and maybe Clare Cassidy as well?

This book takes various forms in its writing. We see things from the view of different characters - Clare, Harbinder and Clare's daughter Georgia. We also have diary entries from Clare and Georgia. The book also follows the path of a short story - The Stranger. We gets bits of this story as the book progresses. Naturally there are some similarities. At the end of the book is the complete version of The Stranger which I very much appreciated. I like books which employ a variety of methods in the telling - parallel time periods, different characters per chapter, letters, diaries and so on. Having The Stranger as a story running throughout was a different approach but one which I liked.

Clare is quite a bland character. She is quite an ordinary person with few distinguishing characteristics or personality. If this book is the start of a series which includes Clare again then I hope to see her character develop more. I loved Harbinder. She had plenty of character & personality. She has some very caustic thoughts which add spice to the text. Although single she does not come from a dysfunctional family - hurrah a break from detective cliche! She lives at home with her parents & has a Mum who cooks wonderful food and waits up for her.

The plot itself was solid. I did have a fair idea as to who the murderer was & why quite early on in the book. However I did enjoy the story as it arrived at its conclusion - not quite as simply as I had. Oh the advantage of the reader being able to read people's thoughts!

I very much enjoyed this book and I would certainly be happy if it was the beginning of a series.

I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley.

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