Thursday, 1 November 2018

Blog Tour & Review: The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

I was thrilled to be asked to take part in the blog tour for Elly Griffiths's latest novel, The Stranger Diaries. It's a brilliant story with a fiendishly clever  mystery, and I know you'll love it! Scroll down for my review and details of where to buy the book. AND, sneakily buried right at the bottom of this page, you'll find the chance to win your own copy! (Not the chocolates though! They didn't last longer than Halloween!)

About the Book

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to tales of murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the Gothic writer R.M. Holland, she teaches a short course on them every year. Then Clare's life and work collide tragically when one of her colleagues is found dead, a line from an R.M. Holland story by her body. The investigating police detective is convinced the writer's works somehow hold the key to the case.

Not knowing who to trust, and afraid that the killer is someone she knows, Clare confides her darkest suspicions and fears about the case to her journal. Then one day she notices some other writing in the diary. Writing that isn't hers...


I was attracted to this book because of the beautiful cover but I'm also a huge fan of Elly Griffiths, particularly her Ruth Galloway series. However, The Stranger Diaries is slightly different - it's a standalone murder mystery, set in a school, which may or may not be haunted!

The story starts with Clare, who teaches English at Talgarth High. The school was once the home of gothic horror writer R.M. Holland, and the top part of the school has been kept as a museum to him and his work; his study is exactly as it was in his day. Scattered throughout the novel are extracts from his most famous short story, The Stranger, and when one of Clare's friends is found dead, a line from this story is found beside the body.

The second point of view is that of the investigating police officer, DS Harbinder Kaur, who was my favourite character, mainly because of her dry sense of humour and the way she is permanently in a grump. I do hope she gets her own series - along with her mother! The third main character is Georgia, Clare's daughter, who humours her mother's ideas of how teenagers should behave and is very funny.  

The Stranger Diaries is a modern take on Victorian mysteries and ghost stories, particularly the way it cleverly backtracks to show the same events from a different character's viewpoint. Running alongside the present-day murders is the mystery of how R.M. Holland's wife died. Is it her ghost that reputedly haunts the school? And just who is Mariana? 

The Stranger Diaries will appeal to anyone who enjoys traditional murder mysteries and I'm sure fans of Elly's Ruth Galloway series will love it. I adored the touch of gothic and the spooky bits - particularly when the teenage Harbinder 'met' the ghost. I hadn't a clue who the murderer was and, as I read a lot of crime fiction, this is always a plus for me!

One of my favourite reads this year! And please, please can Harbinder have a series of her own?!!

Thank you to Elly Griffiths and Quercus for my copy of this book, which I requested from NetGalley and reviewed voluntarily.

About the Author

Winner of the 2016 CWA Dagger in the Library, Elly Griffiths was born in London. She worked in publishing before becoming a full-time writer. Her bestselling series of Dr Ruth Galloway novels, featuring a forensic archaeologist, are set in Norfolk. The series has won the CWA Dagger in the Library, and has been shortlisted three times for the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Her Stephens and Mephisto series is based in 1950s Brighton. She lives near Brighton with her husband, an archaeologist, and their two children.

If you're in London on the 12th of November, you'll be able to hear Elly talk at the Crime Files Rooftop Book Club, along with fellow authors Sabine Durrant and Rachel Abbott. More details, including how to obtain tickets, can  be found here.

Win a Copy!

If you'd like to be in with a chance to win a hardback copy of The Stranger Diaries you can enter via Rafflecopter below. It's simple to use and the more clicks (follow Elly on Twitter, follow Elly on Facebook, etc) the more chances you have to win. The competition closes on 8th November 2018. Good luck!

Terms and Conditions: We're sorry but this competition is only open to those living in the UK. Your personal details won't be stored for longer than the competition runs and your details won't be passed onto anyone else. We will only contact you if you are a winner. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours of being notified, another name will be drawn.


  1. Never kept a diary; that’s something I never got the impulse to do

  2. No, I've tried before but never last more than a few days!

  3. I used to keep diaries as a young girl. They were secret places filled with wild emotion.

  4. I tried but never managed to keep it going - wish I had if only to go back and read about my younger self!