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The Stranger Diaries

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  1,209 ratings  ·  400 reviews
A dark story has been brought to terrifying life. Can the ending be rewritten in time?

A gripping contemporary Gothic thriller from the bestselling author of the Dr Ruth Galloway mysteries: Wilkie Collins and MR James meet Gone Girl and Disclaimer.

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the Gothic writer RM Holland, she teaches a shor
Paperback, 410 pages
Published November 1st 2018 by Quercus
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4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,209 ratings  ·  400 reviews

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Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Creepy and Witty!

The Stranger Diaries is about an English teacher whose life begins to mirror a Gothic murder mystery.

Clare, a single mother to 15-year-old Georgie, is an English teacher in an idyllic seaside town. She happens to teach in the school where famous author R.M. Holland once lived. Clare, a Holland scholar, loves to teach his eerie short story “The Stranger.” When a fellow English teacher is murdered, Clare is shocked that her friend and colleague was murdered. Even more shocking i
Elly Griffiths writes the perfect October read with this contemporary take on the Victorian Gothic novel set on the Sussex coast. Attractive Clare Cassidy is a divorced English teacher with a 15 year old daughter, Georgia, teaching at local comprehensive school, Talgarth High, where there is a building that Roland Montgomery Holland, a reclusive Victorian writer lived, a man famous for a short story titled The Stranger. Clare is writing a biography of RM Holland and is interested in the death of ...more
Holly  B
An absorbing and unsettling contemporary thriller that mirrors a gothic tale~

Some elements I loved~

1. There is a gothic Victorian book placed inside the main story. inside a book
2. Several points of view.

3. The mixture of modern and old school.

4. Police procedural mixed with the creepiness of the setting.

5. A quirky female detective with a sharp eye for inconsistencies. (She was my fave)

6. The setting of a "haunted" school.

If your craving something a little different from you
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss-arc-s
The Stranger Diaries has the elements of a police procedural, gothic mystery, and possibly a haunting. Yes! Yes! & Yes!

Clare Cassidy is a well respected English teacher. Divorced, she lives with her daughter, Georgie, and her adorable pup, Herbert. (I love Herbert!!!) Her best friend and fellow English teacher, Ella, has been discovered murdered and covered in stab wounds. A note lay beside her reading "Hell is Empty".

A book within a book. Clare teaches a class on R.M. Holland's horror nov
Heavy draperied rooms, long winding staircases, and imposing carved wooden doors lend themselves to a Victorian Gothic panoramic view.

Elly Griffiths sets this treasure box of a story within the walls of Talgarth Academy in Sussex. There's an array of buildings that stretch across the campus including the Old Building that houses the original effects of the writer, R.M. Holland. Holland lived there with his wife, Alice, and an elusive daughter, Mariana. According to legend, no one knows what hap
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clare Cassidy, divorcee with 15 year old daughter Georgia, had moved from London to West Sussex, having accepted a position teaching English at Talgarth High School. Clare and Georgia now reside in an isolated house near an abandoned factory. Clare maintains a diary reflecting her innermost thoughts. Additionally, she shares her feelings with rescue dog, Herbert. After all, a dog will not judge his owner! Clare is thrilled that author R.M. Holland, the writer of a gothic ghost story called "The ...more
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although I was interested in the description of this novel, I was, initially, a little wary. I had tried Elly Griffiths popular Ruth Galloway series, and stalled with it. However, I am glad that I gave this a try, as I absolutely loved it and it has made me determined to go back and give Ruth Galloway another try.

This is a clever, literary mystery, with an excellent cast of characters. Clare Cassidy is a divorced English teacher, living with teenage daughter, Georgie and working at Talgarth High
The perfect blend of gothic horror, psychological suspense, and police procedural!


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

As much as I love spooky old houses with a dark history, and possible ghosts sightings, a thought-to-be haunted house turned into a secondary school had me even more excited. The Old Building of Talgarth High, was once home to Victorian Horror writer R.M. Holland, best remembered for his horror-themed, scary short story, The Stranger. The t
Clare Cassidy, divorced and living with her 15 y old daughter Georgie, left London for a quieter life on the Sussex coast where she teaches English at a comprehensive school. Part of the attraction of the school for Clare, is that one of the older sections was once the home of the gothic story writer R.M Holland, whose biography Clare is writing. Holland was mostly known for his famous gothic tale, 'The Stranger', which Clare uses to teach her adult creative writing class. Her dog Herbert is eve ...more
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 s
Clare Cassidy is an English teacher, at Talgrath High, who specializes in teaching about the (fictional) Gothic writer, R.M Holland, author of the famous short story titled, “The Stranger” and a former resident of the school.

It has been rumored that his wife, Alice, had either fallen down, or was pushed down, a staircase, and that her ghost will sometimes be seen at the school....just before another death occurs...

R.M. Holland may or may not, have also had a daughter, Mariana, and Clare is hopi
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-2019
What a great book and a complete surprise to me as it was my first by this author. I have made a note to try her Ruth Galloway series as soon as possible!

The Stranger Diaries is a contemporary mystery with a Gothic flavour. There's a book within the book, old houses with creepy passageways, a deserted building with lights that flash from the windows at night and even a self proclaimed witch. What more do you need for the spookiness factor?

And then there is the murder mystery, actually murders be
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
The Stranger Diaries was a solid 4 stars for me. A mystery/thriller, this book centers around main characters Clare (a divorced English teacher who specializes in RM Holland), Georgie (her 15 year old daughter), and Harbinder Kaur (a detective).
Most of this thriller centers around the school Talgarth High-this is where the famous Victorian writer RM Holland wrote and lived. An interesting character, Clare spends some of her free time researching aspects of his life for a book she is writing.
Liz Barnsley
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Modern gothic with a noir feel, a creepy intelligently woven story and a proper old school whodunit, The Stranger Diaries is a beautifully immersive reading experience. I read it all in one go. Excellent. Full review for publication in November.
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reaading Elly Griffiths is like coming home, her style is comfortable and familiar. The story has a gothic element and is built up well.
4 Stars.

I’m a fan of Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway mysteries, and couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into this one. I was not disappointed. It’s a treat! The Stranger Diaries is a perfect concoction of interesting characters, suspense, and thrills with a bit of spookiness thrown in.

When teacher Clare Cassidy’s friend and work colleague, Ella Elphick is found brutally murdered in her home, Clare is badly shaken and their school is plunged into mourning.

Who would have wanted to harm Ella? She was po
Clare teaches English – key stage 3 in term time, adult creative writing courses over the holidays – and specialises in the work of R.M. Holland, a 19th-century writer of ghost stories whose personal life was as lurid as his fiction. At the beginning of the book, Clare receives a phone call with the awful news that her friend and colleague Ella has been murdered. She's later told a handwritten note was found next to Ella's body: a phrase from The Tempest, 'hell is empty'. The quote also happens ...more
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s official! Elly Griffiths can do no wrong in my eyes and has found herself a spot on my list of go-to authors. You may be familiar with Elly Griffith’s fantastic Ruth Galloway series (which I really need to get caught up on) or her equally brilliant Stephen & Mephisto series (which I also really need to get caught up on) but The Stranger Diaries is a stand-alone gothic mystery thriller type of thing and it’s bloody awesome!

I was in one of the worst reading slumps I can remember ever bein
Crime by the Book
5/5 stars for this fantastic modern take on Gothic suspense! How on earth have I waited until now to read a book by Elly Griffiths?! I absolutely loved The Stranger Diaries . This mystery will be perfect for readers who love slow-burning yet immersive suspense, bonus points if crime novels with academic/bookish backdrops are up your alley. From its rich atmosphere to its bookish plot to its cast of compelling characters, there's just so much that makes this a fantastic read - and suffice it t ...more
Dorie  - Traveling Sister :)
Review to follow
Gail C.
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most atmospheric books I’ve read in a long time. The characters and settings are so well written, it evokes pictures in my head much as if I’m watching a movie, one that has been filmed in black and white. The story reels you in as it unfolds at the perfect pace, being told by three different people, Clare, Harbinder, and Georgia with punctuation being provided the gothic short story “The Stranger”.
Clare is an English teacher who has studied gothic author R. M. Holland, who
Jess at
DNF @ 5%

I am just not a fan of the way this is written and it's making it incredibly difficult to read and get into/invested. I feel bad for not even getting 25% through as this was an ARC but I just can't bring myself to carry on.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I enjoyed The Zig Zag Girl by this author, and fully intend to go back and read her first series, which I've heard good things about. This book was harder to read, because I felt little investment with the characters or interest in the story. It did feel like every character was intentional, but the connections between the fictional story with the story of the novel and Wilkie Collins felt overly forced and made everything a little plodding. Full disclosure: I'm not a frequent crime reader so pe ...more
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Two books for the price of one.
Elly Griffiths has a new crime mystery that has no direct link with her two established series. One of the things it does have in common is that it is very good. Full of her delightful humour and investable characters but for her as an author a bold venture as lacking the security of the familiar. It strays into uncharted territory moreover as there is a cap doffed to gothic horror and ghostly terror.
Interspersed with the modern day fiction is the frightening tale
Joanna Park
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m a huge fan of any mystery or thriller that evolves around a book so The Stranger Diaries intrigued me from the start. I love the idea of a book holding clues to a mystery that’s happening in the present so this book was a big hit with me!

I wasn’t sure about the main character Claire. On one hand she seemed very sassy and I found some of her observations very amusing. However she seemed like an unreliable narrator as she kept lying to the police which made me question her motives.

This book is
Bill Kupersmith
The Norfolk settings first drew me to Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway series - Kings Lynn is one of my very favourite English towns. But after several outings I’d begun to find Ruth annoying. The Zig-Zag Girl featured a fascinating period - the 1950s - but stage magic and Brighton don’t appeal to me. Yet I had very high expectations for The Stranger Diaries and I expect that I’d been less disappointed had it not promised so much. Griffiths has created a ghost story, supposedly written by R. M. Hol ...more
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, crime, horror
“Hell is empty!”

Clare Cassidy is writing a biography of the writer RM Holland, who was best known for his terrifying ghost story, The Stranger. So she’s happy to be teaching at Talgarth Academy, a school in Sussex which was once Holland’s home and where his study is still intact, giving Clare access to his papers. Clare uses The Stranger as part of her lessons, both for her school pupils and for the adults who attend her creative writing classes in school holidays. But when one of her colleagues
So good! Review to come closer to release
Robin Bonne
DNF @ 27%

This book had an interesting setup- divorced mother with childhood trauma moves into a murderous author’s mansion. I really, really tried to like this; gothic fiction is my favorite genre, after all.
I ended up hating the main character, Clare. She was insufferable with all her whining about her daughter not getting into the universities she wanted. She was the cliché evil gothic matriarch, only the author tried to force the reader to sympathize with her. I hated the protagonist so much
Roman Clodia
I read this on the strength of Elly Griffiths' name as I love her Ruth Galloway series: this book is entertaining enough but doesn't show off Griffiths' strengths i.e. her ability to create quirky characters like Ruth, Harry, Cathbart etc., and there are only occasional gestures towards her trademark comedy/satire bon mots - in fact, the only time Clare raises interest is when she articulates something Ruth would say.

The story itself is a modern Gothic-y serial killer with one of those dubious a
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Elly Griffiths' Ruth Galloway novels take for their inspiration Elly's husband, who gave up a city job to train as an archaeologist, and her aunt who lives on the Norfolk coast and who filled her niece's head with the myths and legends of that area. Elly has two children and lives near Brighton. Though not her first novel, The Crossing Places is her first crime novel.

“Why are Georgette Heyer's covers so naff? When you think of all the exciting things that happen - abductions, false identities, wild horseback chases - the front of the book nearly always shows a woman in a ballgown, simpering sweetly up at a man.” 0 likes
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