Review 1571: The Stranger Diaries

Here’s a final book for RIPXV!

I have been following Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway mysteries, which I enjoy, but Galloway’s homage to the gothic novel, The Stranger Diaries, is something else again. I thought it was a stand-alone, but Goodreads has it marked as Harbinder Kaur #1, so perhaps there will be more.

Clare Cassidy is a schoolteacher who is writing a book about R. M. Holland, a Victorian gothic writer whose home is now occupied by Clare’s school. He was also the author of a horror story called “The Stranger.”

When she arrives at school, Clare is horrified to discover that her friend Ella was murdered in her home. Later, when Detective Sergeant Harbinder Kaur comes to interview her, Clare learns that a piece of paper with “Hell is empty” was found with the body. Although Clare tells the police that the quote is from The Tempest, she does not say that it is also used in “The Stranger.” Another thing that Clare doesn’t tell police is that Ella had a one-night stand with Rick Lewis, their married department head.

Later, when Clare goes to check her diary to see what she wrote about Ella and Rick, she finds that someone has written a message in her diary. When the handwriting is compared to that of the note by the body, it is the same.

This tribute to gothic literature is atmospheric and truly scary at times. I thought it was terrific.

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6 thoughts on “Review 1571: The Stranger Diaries

  1. Jane October 29, 2020 / 1:44 pm

    I don’t think I could read this actually, I feel scared just reading this!

    • whatmeread October 29, 2020 / 2:31 pm

      It’s not that scary. It just has a spooky setting and idea.

  2. katknit October 29, 2020 / 2:03 pm

    I enjoyed this book as well.

  3. Penelope Gough October 29, 2020 / 3:39 pm

    Yes was a good read to have while waiting for the next Ruth book. I’m hoping a book about to be released is No 2 in the series. Bit hard to tell from the blurb. Good review thanks.

    • whatmeread October 29, 2020 / 4:02 pm

      There is one marked Harbinder Kauer coming out in spring, I think. I still haven’t read all of the Ruth Galloway books. Working on it!

  4. FictionFan October 31, 2020 / 4:39 am

    So glad you enjoyed this one – I thought it was terrific too! I especially liked the inset horror story – it felt very authentic to the time.

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