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The Stranger Diaries

Written by: Elly Griffiths
Length: 10 hrs and 32 mins
4 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

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Audible Editor Reviews

Elly Griffiths’s knockout novel begins with a story-within-a-story: a hair-raising reading from “The Stranger,” a ghost story by the mysterious author R. M. Holland. Cut to the present day, where English teacher Clare Cassidy works in a school set in Holland’s former house—and where the murder of Clare’s best friend appears to be a perplexing case of life imitating art. I don’t know what it is about books-about-books, but I always find them irresistible, even when they aren’t as brilliantly executed as this one! So it was a pleasure to find an exquisite homage to Wilkie Collins and M. R. James wrapped up in a twisty contemporary plot and told via alternating points of view. My favorite character might have been the queer Sikh detective Harbinder Kaur, but the expert narration from four different performers made each perspective a treat to hear, while the mystery kept me guessing throughout. Immersive and sure-footed, The Stranger Diaries, like all great ghost stories, delights in casting a spell—and listeners will be just as delighted.
Kat J., Audible Editor 

Publisher's Summary

From the author of the beloved Ruth Galloway series, a modern Gothic mystery for fans of The Magpie Murders and The Lake House

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. A high school English teacher specializing in the Gothic writer R. M. Holland, she teaches a course on it every year. But when one of Clare’s colleagues and closest friends is found dead, with a line from R. M. Holland’s most famous story, “The Stranger”, left by her body, Clare is horrified to see her life collide with the story lines of her favorite literature.

©2018 Elly Griffiths (P)2018 Recorded Books
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    4 out of 5 stars

Story got better and better

It took a while to get into the book, bit I ended getting wrapped up in the mystery.
I like Elly Griffiths and look forward to hearing another episode in the life a Clare and Harpinder.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Julie
  • 2019-03-29

Terrific !

I don’t normally read this sort of book but after this book , I’ll be reading more of them, especially by this author. An old fashioned gothic sort of tale added to a modern day school in a spooky old mansion. There are, I believe, 5 narrators, all terrific. Give this one a try. Really good !

53 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sires
  • 2019-03-14

A Gothic Tale Pegged to a Victorian Ghost Story

R. M. Holland wrote a well received short ghost story. He then found that all publishers wanted from him was similar stories. He ended his life as a shut in at his own home. After this it is turned into a school and Claire Cassidy one day comes to teach there. The older section of the school, the original house, has R. M. Holland's study maintained as it was at the time of his death. Cassidy becomes fascinated with Holland's life as well as the mystery of his wife's death and the question of who Mariana is-- Holland's daughter? And what was her faith?

I've been a little tired of some of the more recent Ruth Galloway mysteries, but this is fresh with interesting, well drawn characters and kept me interested to the end. This is a standalone novel and while I really liked the characters I hope it stays that way, but that will probably depend on how well received it is.

57 people found this helpful

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  • Elle Reich
  • 2019-04-22

Good! But...

Primary narrator licks her lips and swallows a lot--hearing her saliva repeatedly gets a bit tiresome. Otherwise she is great. Just not great to constantly hear someone's fluids--distracts from the story.

111 people found this helpful

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  • RueRue
  • 2019-05-15

Hidden gem

One of the best mysteries that I've read in quite awhile ! A good use of (3) narrators (plus the wonderful reading of the "story within the story" ). Diverse and interesting characters, an intricate plot, and a tidy resolution. OK, I did think the final reveal of the perpetrator and the motivations were a bit weak, but everything else was great. So glad I found this hidden gem !

24 people found this helpful

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  • Guy
  • 2019-12-06

Not enjoyable

It’s hard to know where to start on what was wrong with this book. First, it tries to be both a horror type of ghost story, and a murder mystery. It fails at both. There’s not enough tension or horror to make it a compelling ghost story, and not enough detective story or murder mystery to make it interesting in that way.

This book is something like 11 hours long, and it could have been either a one hour ghost story or a two hour murder mystery. The rest of the book is just rambling following the inner dialogue of people with very dull and petty thoughts. Just when you hope the story is going to get interesting or at least move to mildly interesting, it just shifts to someone else’s perspective and you relive the same crap from another mindless petty point of view.

The main characters are all women, they all have petty jealousies of each other, and they’re all incredibly shallow. Just when you think there’s hope for one of them, it turns out she thinks she’s a white witch that can see peoples auras.

All of the men in the book are complete dirt bags, and the only normal sounding guy in the whole book turns out to be the murderer.

When I ask myself what kind of person would enjoy this book, the only two categories that come to mind are sixth grade girls, and aging feminist hippies.

The book is fairly well written from the perspective that you might get an A on it in English class, but it’s well below the average when it comes to delivering a compelling story or characters that you care about it all. A real yawner.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Episteme
  • 2019-03-25

Better than I expected

Gothic is not my thing, nor ghost stories, at all, so I’m somewhat surprised by how much I enjoyed this. If she’d given us a shot at figuring out the mystery, I’d have rated it fives across the board, but she totally pulls the rabbit out of the hat at the end. Unlike other reviewers, I found Harbinder the most annoying of all the POV characters—making moral judgements about people based on their appearance isn’t charming to me—but she slightly redeems her by the end. The narrators were all very good for their respective characters, even—or especially—the man who narrates the embedded short story, which is supposed to be a Victorian melodrama and therefore a melodramatic reading is totally appropriate. I took a chance on this because I like her Elly Griffiths books, and in some ways liked this better. Oddly, it hung together better in some ways. Although the killer’s motivation is completely unbelievable. Though since she’s riffing off a Victorian melodrama, somehow that was ok with me.

23 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Irina Mirsky-Zayas
  • 2019-03-19

excellent production and plot

the two stories are well woven together. the narrators are excellent and believable. there is a perfect balance between suspense and verisimilitude.

20 people found this helpful

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  • S. Vecchio
  • 2019-09-13

Just Didn't Hold My Attention

There were a lot of characters to keep track of, and the story wasn't scary, really, or compelling.
I didn't even finish the last chapter.

7 people found this helpful

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  • wisconsinclark
  • 2019-03-09

Nice change of pace for Elly Griffiths

I lost interest about half way through Griffiths's well known series, but remembered liking her writing so decided to give this book a chance. Once you get past a person handing their diaries over to the police without a fuss, keeping in mind we all know the rules about not having to incriminate yourself, it is a good story. The killer was obvious to me, but a fun listen anyway. The cast of characters are likeable, perhaps another reason the book should do well.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Connie Berry
  • 2019-03-09

Brilliant and spooky!

A multilayered story with a murder mystery wrapped in a legend. You won't be disappointed.

13 people found this helpful