Popsugar Reading Challenge 2022 Book 20

I read The Zig Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths for last year’s challenge and really enjoyed it. She writes a few different series so I thought I would try The Srranger Diaries featuring DS Harbinder Kaur.

What it’s about?

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 storylines of her favourite literature.

To make matters worse, the police suspect the killer is someone Clare knows. Unsure whom to trust, she turns to her closest confidant, her diary, the only outlet she has for her darkest suspicions and fears about the case. Then one day she notices something odd. Writing that isn’t hers, left on the page of an old diary: “Hallo, Clare. You don’t know me.”

Clare becomes more certain than ever: “The Stranger” has come to terrifying life. But can the ending be rewritten in time?

What I think:

This was such a good read. The characters were wonderful and the mystery complex.

The chapters are from different points of view so get to see different aspects of the stories – victims and police.

Harbinder Kaur is such a great character. She stands out at home and at work. Race, religion, gender, sexuality – despite her professional success she never quite lives uo to her parents expectations as she is still not married and lives at home. I like the way that she opens up as a character and you start to glimpse behind her professional demeanour.

The mystery is interesting with lots of gothic twists. Rumours of ghosts and dead children, reclusive writers and historical research.

There are plenty of red herrings. Clare is under suspicion and dies come across as quite an unreliable narrator.

This was a really compelling read. I loved the characters and the climactic resolution was really satisfying. I shall definitely be reading more from Elly Griffiths.

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