The Stranger diaries by Elly Griffiths

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Winner of the 2020 Edgar Award for Best Novel, The Stranger Diaries is a departure for Elly Griffiths author of the Ruth Galloway series. Clare Cassidy is an English teacher specialising in Gothic fiction. She is particularly interested in the writer R.M. Holland and when a colleague is found murdered with a quote from The stranger, Holland’s book, she finds herself embroiled in the mystery surrounding the murder. Detective Sergeant Harbinder Kaur is investigating the case and Clare’s teenage daughter Georgie is also involved.

Griffiths cleverly combines the trope of having a book central to the mystery and the everyday lives of the main characters. Clare is divorced and writes in a diary and when she finds the words  "Hallo, Clare. You don’t know me" written in it, begins to realise that she might be a target of the murderer.  Harbinder Kaur is a fascinating character, and it will be interesting to see if Griffiths continues with her in future books.

The setting of a high school, a locked study at the top of an old mansion, and the workings of a school combine to make a fascinating read. The plot draws the reader in and the addition of mysteries surrounding the book The stranger add an extra dimension to the story.

I am a fan of the Ruth Galloway series, and I am sure to read future books by the author. Readers who enjoyed The magpie murders by Anthony Horowitz may enjoy this.

Themes: Murder, Detectives.

Pat Pledger