Title: The Stranger Diaries
Author: Elly Griffiths
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…
I am a big Elly Griffiths fan, and love her Ruth Galloway series, so I was intrigued to try a book with different characters in it. The Stranger Diaries definitely feels like a different read, but it was just as entertaining and absorbing as her other novels, and the characters – which Elly Griffiths is always so great at shaping – read like real people I could, on the whole, imagine actually existing.
The plot is interesting and kept me intrigued; at some points it required some suspension of disbelief (definitely less believable than her Ruth Galloway series – sorry to keep comparing but, hey, I love those books) but it is a fun and engaging story, and has some enjoyable twists and turns. I have to say that Harbinder, the DS, shone in this novel – she’s very confident, knows her own mind and rubs people up the wrong way, but she’s a unique and interesting character who added something fresh to the story. I did like Clare but felt at times she was a little annoying/ snobby – I really couldn’t identify with some of her opinions – however Georgie, though a predictably stuck up/ whiny teenager some of the time, seemed likeable and overall a sweet girl.
This is a well-written story and a good start to a new series, if that is what it will become (I’d read more of DS Kaur for sure) but it doesn’t quite measure up to the brilliance of Elly Griffith’s Ruth Galloway series. Well worth a read, though.
Many thanks to Quercus for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.