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The Aids Memorial

Books, Thrillers of the month : Murder mystery played by the book

Par Alison Flood - 3 mn

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‘Darkly funny’: graveyards loom through windows in Elly Griffiths’s The Stranger Diaries. Steve Bell/Rex/ Shutterstock

A writer’s gothic tale is brought to life and a kidnap victim is left with strange powers in this month’s must reads.

It is clear from the start of Elly Griffiths’s The Stranger Diaries (Quercus, £12.99) that we are in for a treat. “Why not pass the hours with some story telling? The perfect thing for a late October evening,” invites the Stranger, and we settle in for a deliciously gothic murder mystery. The Stranger, it turns out, is a chilling short story by the fictional RM Holland , an intriguingly creepy figure whose biography is being written by Clare Cassidy, a secondary school teacher who earns extra cash running a creative writing course for adults. This is where we meet her – and where Griffiths (known for her Dr Ruth Galloway series) has a lot of fun setting up the scares that follow.

“Animals are expendable,” Cassidy tells her class. “Authors often ki...