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    Gothic atmosphere, solid mystery

    Just a Few Words: As a long-time fan of Elly Griffith’s, I was beyond excited to read this book, and I was not disappointed. The author brought her A-Game to this one! Okay, let’s begin…. The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths is a mystery novel. First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. My Synopsis: Clare Cassidy is a high-school English teacher at Talgarth High. She is also writing a book on R.M. Holland, who coincidentally, once lived in the old part of the school. He is a bit of an enigma, an author whose wife Alice is said to haunt the staircase where she died, and whose daughter Mariana seems to have disappeared. He wrote a fairly well-known short story entitled “The Stranger”. Clare has learned a lot from his diary. She has kept her own diaries off and on for many years, and writes almost daily. Georgia, Clare’s 15 year-old daughter, also keeps a diary (unknown to her mom), on-line, as do her friends. Also unknown to her mom is the fact that she too is fascinated by R.M. Holland, she too is writing a book, and she is friends with Bryony Hughes, a white witch. Clare does, however, know that Georgia has a 21-year old boyfriend named Ty, and that’s about all she can handle right now. Ella Elphick, Clare’s close friend, also teaches English at Talgarth. That is, of course, until she was stabbed to death, with a quote from Holland’s “The Stranger" by her side. DS Harbinder Kaur and DS Neil Winston are from the Murder Squad, and will be investigating Ella’s death. But as more bodies pile up, it becomes evident that they all tie back to Clare, her diaries, and “The Stranger“. My Opinions: I am thoroughly enjoying the Ruth Galloway series by this author, but this stand-alone novel took me a little while to get into….but once I did, I couldn’t let it go. I liked how the tale was told from three different viewpoints – Clare’s, Georgia’s, and Harbinger’s. They were three very distinct and different voices, which I think the author nailed! Then, a fourth voice was added – the actual short story “The Stranger", which was interspersed throughout the book – a story within a story. As always, Elly Griffiths provided a wonderful plot, with enough interesting characters and twists that I kept changing my mind as to the identity of the killer. Loved that! Overall, a success! I highly recommend this book!
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