“I lived the same day twice in the bodies of two different people. I talked to myself, berated myself and examined myself through somebody else’s eyes.”
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was a refreshing mystery written in a style reminiscent of Agatha Christie. Stuart Turton’s story about a house party gone awry is the best way to start the Fall season.
Besides the premise of the story being an interesting factor, the book definitely makes the reader feel like they are actually experiencing the character’s living hell. It’s such a frantic beginning that sets the tone of the story and the myriad of questions that immediately start to form. Questions that I was already anxious to know the answers to. But the answers are long in coming and the reader must be content with figuring it out with the character himself.
The chapters have headings like “Day One” and so forth. As one can tell from the title of the story, the seven deaths equal to seven days the character has to solve Evelyn’s murder.* It’s such a fun premise. Especially when the character (Aiden) has to live out each new day in a new person (house guest). (I really could totally imagine this as a BBC mini series).
The author also has a great way to describe the surroundings and the characters themselves.
“The man behind it is in his sixties, perfectly bald, with a bulbous nose and bloodshot eyes. He smells of brandy, but cheerfully so, as though every drop went down smiling.”
The mystery alone was great but the added thrill with the mysterious (and quite stabby) Footman, really added to the fear factor and the overall time constraint theme to the story. Honestly, I couldn’t figure out who the suspect was, because they all sounded suspicious! I loved that aspect.
I really enjoyed this story and I was happy to find out that this is actually turning into a book series. But don’t worry, there are no cliffhangers to this one.
This is Turton’s debut novel and very well done in my opinion.
*There is an alternate title: The 7 1/2 death’s of Evelyn Hardcastle. The author explains why here.
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
The Rules of Blackheath
Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at 11:00 p.m.
There are eight days, and eight witnesses for you to inhabit.
We will only let you escape once you tell us the name of the killer.
Understood? Then let's begin...
Evelyn Hardcastle will die. Every day until Aiden Bishop can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others...
The most inventive debut of the year twists together a mystery of such unexpected creativity it will leave readers guessing until the very last page.
Would this be a story you would be interested in reading?