In The Stranger Diaries, Elly Griffiths moves beyond her series characters and delivers a clever, well-plotted, and gripping murder mystery with a hint of ghost story. This is truly Griffiths at her best, with well-developed and engaging characters, some of whom beg to become part of a new series (I’m looking at you, Harbinder Kaur!)
In truth, I’ve found the last couple Ruth Galloway books stale and prosaic, with the focus shifted from Ruth’s work as a forensic anthropologist and Nelson’s work as a detective taking a backseat to what has become a boring love triangle. In The Stranger Diaries, Griffiths appears to be flexing her writing muscles and experimenting with different forms. The juxtaposition of the present day action with the story of The Stranger is smooth and flowed in a way that the stories complemented each other, and delivered hints of Wilkie Collins.
Not many authors take a chance on writing new characters when they have an established series, so I admire Griffiths for taking a break from beloved characters and trying new ones on for size. She has successfully delivered a stand-alone story that had me reading deep into the night just to find out the killer’s identity. I haven’t been so engrossed in a Griffith’s book since I ran out on to the salt marsh with Ruth as she raced away from Erik in The Crossing Places. Well done!
Publication Date: March 5, 2019 (although ebook versions abound on Wattpad and other platforms)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy