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Sunday, June 9, 2019

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

I love Elly Griffith's Ruth Galloway Mysteries. In fact, they are what started me on reading mysteries. I'm still dipping my toes into the mystery world, but I'm finding myself looking at them more often than I used to-both at the library and at my local bookstore. 

Elly Griffiths has written other mysteries, but this is a stand alone contemporary mystery with a bit of a gothic feel to it. And yes, I'm terrible at figuring out who did it before the end. 

The Stranger Diaries takes place in Sussex, at a school. Clare Cassidy is a high school English teacher, divorced and living with her teen daughter Georgia. Her close friend and colleague Ella is found viciously murdered in her home, and everyone is shocked. Who could possibly want her dead?

As Detectives Harbinder Kaur and Neil Winston begin investigating Ella's murder, suspicions swing to the head of the English Department at school: Rick Lewis. Clare knows a secret Ella shared with her: that she had a quick affair with Rick, and ended it weeks before. Harbinder knows Clare has more information than she's willing to reveal, and digs deeper. 

Clare has a few things troubling her: the diary she writes in daily has been tampered with; someone is leaving her notes. That someone is also closely following the plot of one of Clare's favorite novels: The Stranger. Who else is in danger? 

This was an easy to get sucked into mystery. Chapters are told through alternating voices: Clare, Georgia, and Harbinder. There are suspects a-plenty, and it seems that the mystery gets murkier before clues start coming together. Harbinder is the most interesting character, and I hope the author writes a few more mysteries with Harbinder as the investigating detective. I'd like to see more of her story. Clare is simply a woman trying to raise her daughter and be a good teacher. What others see her as is part of the whole plot. Appearances are most definitely deceiving in this tale of murder, mystery, and yes, a touch of madness. 

Rating: 3/6 for an interesting mystery. I thought the addition of the old short story sometimes interfered with the mystery; sometimes I had to get through bits of that in order to return to the meaty part of the story. Overall, a satisfying read.

Available in hardcover, ebook, and audio.


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