The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths
Clare Cassidy is no stranger to tales of murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the Gothic writer R.M. Holland, she teaches a short course on them every year. Then Clare’s life and work collide tragically when one of her colleagues is found dead, a line from an R.M. 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…
The Stranger Diaries instantly grabbed by interest, a English Lit teacher obsessed with a gothic author and researching his life’s work. When there is a colleague murdered and creepy notes begin to occur in Clare’s diary!!!! #SOLD!
The novel opens with a male narrator and we eventually discover this is the work of R.M. Holland the gothic author Clare is currently researching. Although Clare is a secondary English Lit teacher by day; at night she takes adult students and has covered the work of R.M. Holland. We learn she is currently researching to write a biography on the once beloved author.
R.M. Holland is always in the background of the novel. His past, his life and his work are scattered throughout the novel.
Clare is a teacher at Talgarth High, which is located at Holland House, R.M. Holland’s previous residence. This adds to the eerie feel of the novel and even more so when Clare’s colleague Ella is murdered…
“I just can’t believe I’ll never see her again” – Clare
The novel also shows the points of view of DS Harbinder Kaur and Clare’s teen daughter Georgia. Although, it was Clare I was most captivated by. I just found her character so interesting and I kept trying to second guess her motives, choices and actions.
“I keep thinking I’m in a book” – Clare
There is a note left with Ella’s body that hints at the work of R.M. Holland. But Clare misleads detectives to believe it is a quote from The Tempest. This is when I really began to wonder if I could trust Clare’s narrative at all.
This simply is the perfect winter read, to curl up with on those early dark nights! 4*
‘It can be a dangerous thing, reading too much’