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The Stranger Diaries

Houghton Harcourt. Mar. 2019. 352p. ISBN 9781328577856. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781328576088. M
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OrangeReviewStarHigh school English teacher Clare Cassidy specializes in the work of gothic writer R.M. Holland. When one of her colleagues is murdered, a line from Holland's most famous work, The Stranger, is found on her body, and the police are certain the killer is someone Clare knows. As she struggles to make sense of the events surrounding the murder, Clare pours out her heart into her diary, but when she visits an earlier volume to check on the date of a work trip, she's shocked to find a note in unfamiliar handwriting in the margins: "Hallo, Clare. You don't know me." Unsure whether she has a stalker, a ghost, or suffered a break from reality, Clare struggles to keep it together for her teenage daughter—until the next murder.
VERDICT Griffiths's ("Ruth Galloway" and "Magic Men" series) first stand-alone novel is a modern gothic that updates and plays with genre conventions to great effect. Highly recommended for fans of British mysteries and classic whodunits. [See Prepub Alert, 9/10/18.]

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