A very well written mystery where the reader was kept at arms length from the answer in a very stylish way. Great characterisation and the use of different narrators gave the book and the story greater depth and dimension. A story well worth reading
I’m a big fan of Elly Griffiths ‘Ruth Galloway’ Series, they are my comfort read, predicable but always enjoyable. I haven’t been able to get into her ‘ Max Mephisto’ books but I did jump at the chance to read and review her newest novel....as anything remotely ‘gothic’ has my put it aside but I’m glad I kept reading.
The ‘gothic’ in this story is the old school where Clare Cassidy is an English teacher, who is also writing a novel about horror author RM Holland, whose home was also the said same school. The mystery is the death of Clare’s friend and fellow English teacher Ella, whose death is very similar to a murder out of one of RM Hollands’ novels. And who has been writing creepy quotes in Clare’s diary? Who else could be in danger?
As I mentioned previously, this book did take me a long time to get invested in. I really enjoyed the character development of DS Harbinder and really hope we get to see more of her. The plot was well developed and once invested, it moved along at a good pace. All in all, a good pleasant read and one where I will look forward to a further instalment. Thank you to Netgalley for an ARC to read.
An atmospheric thriller, full of chilling scenes, I found this book very hard to put down.
Clare is a teacher at a high school, set in a historic old building. It is the former home of writer RM Holland, author of the ghost story The Stranger. Then Clare's friend and colleague, Ella, is found dead, a note is left beside her body with a line from The Stranger.
Clare, afraid that the killer is someone she knows, turn to her journal, where she's always written down her thoughts and feelings. Then one day she opens her journal to find writing that isn't her own...
The Stranger Diaries is a haunting gothic type mystery, full of creepy characters, any of which could prove to be the killer. With the setting of a haunted old mansion, what's not to love? Recommended.
My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Clare Cassidy is receiving cryptic notes., somebody is leaving them in her private diary. At the same time there is somebody killing high school kids using an old gothic novel as a "how to do it". The story is told from multiple pov and excerpts from said novel. Entertaining read, just right for dark nights.
First one teacher is murdered, then another. The glamorous Clare was a close friend of the first and the second was her (married) head teacher. The two had had an affair, but the head teacher had previously been pining for Clare. Clare is divorced and her 15 yo daughter Georgia mainly lives with her. Clare’s ex is also attacked but escapes with his life. The school was once the home of Victorian author R M Holland, who was most famous for a ghost story. Sections of this story appear throughout the novel before it is given in full at the end. During school breaks Clare teaches a creative writing course using this story to illustrate certain points. One of these points is that it’s a convention in such stories that things occur in threes. Another is that animal characters are often sacrificial. Worryingly, she has named her beloved dog Herbert after the dog in the story. In between school duties and diary writing, Clare has been working on a book about Holland. Clearly, the link is Clare, and when she finds notes in another hand in her diary, the level of anxiety ratchets up.
The plod in this case is the likeable, acerbic, gay DS Harbinder Kaur, who comes from a Sikh family. Harbinder, at the age of 35, still lives at home. Why not, when her mother’s cooking is so good? Chapters are written from the POV of Clare, Georgia and Harbinder, giving us an insight into things other characters don’t know. For example, Clare doesn’t know that Georgie goes to a writing group run by self-designated white witch Bryony Hughes. She does know, and worry about, Georgie’s relationship with 21 yo Ty, a good-looking bar tender.
With things becoming increasingly tense, Harbinder insists that Clare and Georgie stay with Clare’s grandmother in Scotland. This redoubtable lady comments on the mild summer weather when the car’s temperature gauge reads 1 degree C. With other candidates being knocked out, it’s easy to guess who the murderer is but the book is well-plotted, the characters well fleshed out and it does give a first class insight into the British education system and the life of a teacher (which Elly Griffiths is). The love interest is provided by a Cambridge don when letters from Holland are discovered at his college. A book like this doesn’t have the profundity and depth of Donna Leon or Louise Penny but it’s a very good read ... streets ahead of many others.