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Summary

A dark story has been brought to terrifying life. Can the ending be rewritten in time?

A gripping contemporary Gothic thriller from the best-selling author of the Dr Ruth Galloway mysteries: Susan Hill meets Gone Girl and Disclaimer.

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 whom 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....

©2018 Elly Griffiths (P)2018 Quercus Editions Limited

Critic reviews

"Compelling, intelligent and increasingly mesmerising." (Peter James)

"At once a homage to the Gothic thriller, and a re-imagining, it is goose-bump spooky, smart, and haunting, in every sense. I loved this book! And you will too." (Louise Penny) 

"Compelling, intelligent and increasingly mesmerising." (Peter James) 

What members say

Average customer ratings

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Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

The stranger diaries

Another gripping book by Elly Griffiths. I found this.story so compelling i had to stay with it to the end. I had the Audible version and I was awake all night. Didn't guess the end.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

well written. nicely performed.

Anyone familliar with griffith can tell whodone it. but great story. she is able to get into the head of a 15 years old veey well.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Murder Mystery at it’s Best

I was hooked from the opening lines. Believable characters, loved the style, with each character telling events from their point of view.

Had me guessing to the very end. One of Elly Griffiths very best.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Elly does it again

I was hesitant as this is the first book that isnt part of the Bones series. But incredible- the author has such a talent for writing people in such a natural way. I got the twist early on but that didnt stop me enjoying it at all! Loved it

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Miriam
  • Seaford, East Sussex, United Kingdom
  • 22-11-18

Ellie Griffiths just get better and better

I loved this book. It was captivating and gripping from beginning to end. In old-fashioned parlance a real page turner.

The conceit of the book is creative and unusual. Ellie Griffiths uses the literary device of telling the story from different perspectives as the listener travels through the journey of the story with overlapping narrations from different characters. This style keeps the plot twisting and turning as the suspense gradually mounts drawing the listening in.

I live along south coast and really enjoyed the whole story being set in areas that I know. It all added to the realism of the tale.

Having different narrators also kept the listener’ s interest and it made it more like a dramatise play.

I have read all of Ellie Griffiths books and enjoyed each one of them and I’m always on the lookout for a new book being released. This one really is the best she has written yet.

I thoroughly recommend it and am now waiting for the next new book.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good but not as expected from synopsis

Enjoyed the story overall but not really what I expected so just a little disappointed in a way I can't go into without a spoiler. Very satisfying with an unexpected twist nonetheless.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I Devoured This Like a Ravening Beast - BRILLIANT!

Two sleepless nights later and I have polished off this EXCELLENT book in record time. I usually save my Audio Books for last thing at night, first thing in the morning and if they are gripping perhaps I bring them around the house to accompany me doing chores etc.... BUT THIS BOOK .... this had me eschewing TV in order to continue ... um I say TV but the truth is more like I could not be parted from it. I LOVED IT!
This was the first time I had read anything by Elly Griffiths as was just not convinced the other two series were for me but of course I will have to think again about that after enjoying this book so much and might try The Zigzag Girl or one of the Archaeological themed one to see ......... but of course what I am really hoping for is that this is the start of a NEW series staring the same detective.
I thought the narration was very good and had just settled in to the very talented Esther Wane
who was a very believable English/Creative Writing Teacher with a lovely voice though I was surprised at the unconventional pronunciation of common place words like Pot Pourri, Cafetier, Porcine, Tempest and perhaps a couple more - but apart from that I found her performance just excellent and very intelligent and believable ... when along came Anjana Vasan who played the detective role so well and managed to be so amusing without losing the suspense or drama of it. This was a fabulous change of pace and I think it came about 8 chapters in, so I found the different perspective of events really gave depth to the story and I loved the way her account was at odds with the teacher's and how her description of the teacher herself gave fresh insight into the character. I thought this was very clever and just an excellent and fresh structure of storytelling and just so well done and added so much ..... and just when I settled into that along came Sarah Feathers with the daughter's description of events adding a third viewpoint and revealing so much extra information of what was going on and gave even more insight into her mother, the teacher. Of course there is also the very dramatic telling of the Gothic short story The Stranger which also intersperses the book read by the amazing Andrew Wincott with great aplomb - he was just perfect and reminded me a little of an English Vincent Price.
Overall I thought the casting was brilliant and all the narrators played their parts very well and their voices were so very distinctive it made following the story and keeping up with the characters very easy and enjoyable.
This has been my favourite book for a long time, although I have been lucky enough to have enjoyed about 4 five star reads back to back, but there was something about this book that really gripped me and kept me wanting to find out more and more as there really were so many layers - interesting characters - fascinating backstories and mysterious sinister happenings let alone murders.
Indeed I loved this book right from the get go, despite one of my pet peeves being discussed in the Creative Writing Course opening scenes when the Teacher tells her class that animals are expendable and often used by authors to build suspense when they cannot bear to kill a character. Hmmmmmmm ... this is one of my HUGE pet peeves, good books ruined by lazy writers who use animal torture, death or cruelty as a way to build suspense and it just turns me right off a book when I find a main character has a pet who is only put there as something to be unnecessarily hacked to death so to hear of a Creative Writing teacher, albeit fictional, suggesting this as a go-to move did rub me up the wrong way although the character did reprove herself for this later.
Then I enjoyed all the twists and turns, the sinister discoveries and all the subplots right up until nearly the end when it all just seemed a bit rushed to me as I felt, although I did guess "whodunnit", I felt an opportunity was lost to keep building the suspense - almost as if the author had a bus to catch ... or a deadline to meet ... or was running out of battery and they just crammed the end in without ceremony. I think the ending seemed to take about 3% of the book when a gradual burn could have been very enjoyable instead of a sudden conclusion and then a quite generous epilogue. I did also think that the characters actions also became rather implausible for that final section and I wonder even was it a rewrite as was just not up to the amazing standard of the rest of the book.
However, I felt I had been treated royally to the most excellent of adventures with so much intrigue, mystery, suspense, excitement and so many different themes and perspectives and sub plots with great characters, amusing and entertaining streams of consciousness that I still enjoyed the book as one of my favourite reads ever but just could have been even better with a more suspenseful and slower paced ending which matched the believability of the rest of this excellent book which up to then had been just so spot on.
I did however love the way the book ended with the complete short story of The Stranger by RM Holland ( who as Wilkie and Shakespear had been frequently referenced I had to google to see if this was fiction or an existing classic!) and I did not guess the ending of that - fabulous reading by narrator Andrew Wincott and what a shame that other RM Holland creation "The Ravening Beast" was lost to time. Loved the way the RM Holland mystery was also running in tandem with the rest of the mysteries and did wonder was the way M had "enjoyed" the lost novel the explanation of what happened to it!
Of course I would recommend this book whole heatedly as stands head and shoulders above the plethora of murder mysteries out there - so well written, such well crafted plots, so much suspense, so very, very unputdownable - this has to be the book I read fastest and most consistently and stayed on my mind when I was not listening to it and could not wait to get back to.
Please, please PLEASE let this be the first in a series - or if not please MORE MORE MORE Standalones like this one Elly Griffiths as I may have another sleepless night ahead of me just missing this fabulous book and the wonderful way it kept me enthralled!

NB: A note to potential readers looking at these reviews there is one below headlined "Not Bad" which is just a synopsis more than a review and has some rather annoying plot spoilers which I am delighted I did not read before enjoying this book as it really would have spoiled some of the plot twists by listing them and revealing rather too much.


10 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Tedious twaddle

Struggled to get to the end of this book...started with promise and staggered on into tedium.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Murder Mystery or Ghost Story??

Simple answer is both.Very clever piece that kept me gripped from page one to the unique climax.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

recommended

I found this greatly enjoyable. I have listened to a few other Elly Griffith books. This is the first with several voices. I found it a little difficult to discern the different females until well into the book. But good once into it.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful