The Stranger Diaries @EllyGriffiths

Elly Griffiths has woven together a tale of gothic suspense, psychological terror and marvelous detective work and thrown in a full measure of classical literature, all of which create a beautiful tapestry called The Stranger Diaries. Whew.


If you think that opening line was a lot to absorb, just wait until you read the book. I’m still trying to untangle my mind from the who’s and who’s nots and what’s real and what’s not! For someone who had an imaginary playmate until she was 10 years old and still has a crush on Harry Bosch, whom I’ve been told is not a real person, trying to decipher a book within a book within a book written by fictional character written by an author with a nom de plume was a lot to comprehend. But, hand on heart, this book – The Stranger Diaries – was worth every single moment spent reading it. It is fantastic!

The book opens with a line from “The Stranger,” a gothic short story written by RM Hammond, whom our main character, Clare, is studying in hopes of writing a book about his life and works.

“If you’ll permit me,” said the Stranger, “I’d like to tell you a story.”

Clare is an English teacher at a school that is nestled in the old home where Hammond once lived. Her fellow teacher and best friend, Ella, is found stabbed to death with a note lying next to her body which reads, “Hell is Empty,” also a line from Hammond’s book. As The Stranger Diaries continues, the body count rises as does the spooky, creepy factor of the entire tale. Folded within the story itself is the re-telling of The Stranger and the more we as readers learn, the more similarity there is between current events and the haunting, gothic tale of the past. <shivers>

The Stranger Diaries reads, at once, both as a ghost story and a gothic suspense. The writing is marvelous, intelligent and might possibly have you scrambling to look up classical literature references along the way. (Note: Hammond is a fictional writer, much to my dismay.) I loved all of the characters, except the ex-husband and even he was the perfect ex. In all, this is a terrific mystery, ghost story, gothic tale that crosses multiple genres and can enjoyed by many. I highly recommend it.

Thank you to #Edelweiss, #HoughtonMiflinHarcout and #EllyGriffiths for my copy of The Stranger Diaries. 


18 thoughts on “The Stranger Diaries @EllyGriffiths

    1. Thanks Shalini! Do you know that when I got the book I didn’t put two and two together that she was an author that I frequently read. Her series are terrific too – this is her first stand alone. Now I just need to get back to reading her series!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I love it when authors are witty enough to put a book within a book within a book, etc. and Griffiths has done such an incredible job pulling this off that I just wanted to stand up and give her an ovation. It’s really quite amazing!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Christopher – I hope you like it and I think you will. It’s just so different from anything I’ve read lately. I seem to be on a merry-go-round of quirky books lately but, thankfully, they are turning out to be great! Let me know what you think!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you liked this one too! She’s such a great writer but this one was so different from her others that I just never suspected! I can’t wait to start reading her series again. In fact, I hope to read a lot more series this year.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wonderful review Mac. I didn’t realize that this was a standalone, I just assumed it was part of her series. This one sounds really good, even though I am not big on gothic, spooky settings. I will have to check this one out. You have made this one sound very promising.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I am so behind on her series and was afraid, at first, to download it. Then I saw that it was her stand alone and got too excited. I hope you enjoy it. It’s not scary, just spooky in an interesting kind of way.


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