“Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the gothic writer RM Holland, she teaches a short course on it every year. Then Clare’s life and work collide tragically when one of her colleagues is found dead, a line from an RM Holland story by her body. The investigating police detective is convinced the writer’s works somehow hold the key to the case.
“Not knowing who to trust, and afraid that the killer is someone she knows, Clare confides her darkest suspicions and fears about the case to her journal. Then one day she notices some other writing in the diary - writing that isn’t hers.”
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I particularly liked the character of DS Harbinder Kaur and her instinctive ability to see through the suspects’ answers to her questions, as well as her cynical little observations.
Bryony Hughes, a charismatic teacher rumoured to be a white witch, was also interesting, as four of her students seemed to be unhealthily in thrall to her and I couldn’t work out if she was trustworthy, or just creepy and manipulative.
The story reminded me of the Gothic novelist Marie Corelli, and the insertion of extracts from fictional Gothic short story “The Stranger” added to the sinister goings-on at Talgarth School.