The Stranger Diaries


Fantastic female led mystery!

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this mystery, but I wanted something Halloweeny for my October book club and this absolutely fit the bill.

In England, a woman named Ella is mysteriously murdered in her room. We learn of this mystery and her life through her best friend and co-worker, Clara. Assigned to the case is Detective Harbinder Kaur, who is cynical, judgmental, and a fantastic investigator. Our third perspective comes from Georgia, the 15-year-old daughter of Clara. These women narrate the mystery with varying perspectives, all exemplifying how three women in the same situation can have vastly different outlooks on life.

We find out Ella had an affair with a fellow teacher who was first rejected by Clara. Add in the legend of a ghost and the fact that Clara is obsessed with a Gothic author who lived at the now school and this book has a plethora of spooky elements. The author also includes a famous fictional short story written by the said Gothic author that plays a huge role in this novel. It’s a very well done and atmospheric tale that I wish was absolutely published for real!

This book is very well plotted and has so many of the benchmarks of old Gothic mysteries, complete with ghosts, mysterious notes, diaries, and red herrings. There are a lot of characters here, but all the relevant ones are women, which I also loved. It’s rare to read a mystery in which almost everyone involved is a woman, and for that fact alone I know this will be an excellent sure bet recommendation to my mystery readers at the library.

Highly recommend this one for personal reads or for your book clubs! The author has written 2 other series, both of which are widely loved, so I can’t wait to give her Ruth Galloway mysteries a try. This book also has a sequel of sorts, in that there is a book two that follows a new mystery with Harbinder Kaur as our continuing detective element. A great start for a new author/series I haven’t tried before!

Title:  The Stranger Diaries
Author:  Elly Griffiths
Format: Hardcover
Pages:  338
ISBN:   9781328577856

Three Descriptors: Atmospheric, Well-plotted, Chilling,

Read Alikes:
Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
The Broken Girls by Simone St. James
In the Woods by Tana French
Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

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