By Elly Griffiths
Published by Quercus (1 November 2018)
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher
Elly Griffiths has written a compelling and entertaining modern-day gothic mystery.
The Stranger Diaries is a spooky mix of police procedural and psychological thriller, linking murders in a secondary school to a creepy Victorian story (which is revealed in snippets throughout the book and then in full at the end). The plot moves at a fast pace, building up the suspense, with cliffhangers at the end of each chapter leading to 'just one more'. The author's lyrical writing flows beautifully, with plenty of rhythm within her prose, leading me to read much of the book out loud.
All three narrators - teacher Clare Cassidy, her teenage daughter Georgie and police officer DS Harbinger Kaur - seemed authentic and believable. I particularly loved DS Kaur, with her wit, bluntness and warmth, and hope she will appear in another Elly Griffiths book in the future. Using different narrators means that although we get inside their heads, we also see each character from someone else's point of view (often in a different light so maybe trust them a little bit less). We also experience events and conversations from multiple sides, which can be unnerving and slightly disorientating, adding to the supernatural feel of the book.
The Stranger Diaries is cleverly plotted, mixing past and present and dropping in red herrings and false leads, playing games with the reader's mind. It certainly kept me on my toes. I tried very hard to guess the whodunnit but failed!