Today I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths! The Stranger Diaries is a standalone novel from an author who is no stranger to a bestseller, having written numerous novels as part of the Dr Ruth Galloway, and Stephens and Mephisto series. I was lucky enough to receive a proof of her latest novel, when I was drawn to this story on hearing about it at the Quercus 2019 showcase.
I always enjoy stories within stories and this is something that is used within this novel as it is a murder mystery which has an impact on a literature teacher who has read and taught many a murder story, as she runs a gothic fiction course each year. Alongside staff and students at Talgarth High, Clare Cassidy is left shocked when one of her colleagues is found dead, with a quote from a Gothic writer left beside her. The novel blends a modern murder mystery with gothic, Victorian elements, as Clare’s life and work collide. Not least as the quote is from R.M Holland, a writer who is of particular interest to Claire, and who worked in the old building at the school. Clare also maintains a diary, and makes a startling discovery when writing that isn’t hers appears within her entries. This leaves her questioning who is responsible for her friend’s death, and how the sinister notes have come to be in her own diary, a place where she should be able to confide her darkest fears. I was intrigued by the concept of this, and eager to read on and find out who could be responsible.
I found The Stranger Diaries to be a gripping read which I finished in a couple of sittings. I enjoyed the way in which Elly Griffiths creates a mystery in which fiction and folklore play a part. Talgath High holds a dark history of its own with a historical mystery surrounding the old building which still leaves some uneasy, with ghostly sightings said to predict a tragic death. This made for an atmospheric read, with extracts from R.M Holland’s famous work interspersed throughout, in which we see how events mirror those unfolding in the present day. I also enjoyed the use of multiple narrators in this story, with chapters told from the perspectives of Clare as well as her fifteen year old daughter Georgie, and of Harbinder Kaur, the DS who is investigating this dark and mysterious case. Each character was interesting and offered intriguing dimensions on this story which kept my interest to the end as the mystery begins to unfold.
I liked the concept of The Stranger Diaries and found it to be an enjoyable and atmospheric mystery novel which effectively utilises gothic mystery elements to create a story in which fiction and reality collide. It was published on 1st November 2018 by Quercus Books with thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for review.
If you would like to hear more from Elly she will be speaking at the Quercus Crime Files Rooftop Bookclub on 12th November! You can get your tickets here… https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/rooftop-bookclub-and-crime-files-presents-tickets-49643078785
This review was written as part of The Stranger Diaries blog tour, you can follow the other stops on the tour on the dates and blogs below: