The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton

A twisty game of cat and mouse where a detective trapped in the bodies of the suspects must work hard to solve the question haunting this book – Who kills Evelyn Hardcastle?

This book is truly a masterpiece. I discovered it from a recommendation given to me by @prettynovel on Instagram. I was intrigued by the premise and the stellar reviews it had received. I was not disappointed. Fans of Agatha Christie and Groundhog day, read on.

What’s it about?

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle follows Aiden Bishop, who wakes up in a strangers body, not knowing his own name and witnesses a murder. What follows throughout the book is equal parts strange and intriguing.

Each day Aiden Bishop must inhabit the guests at Blackheath manor, where a party is being held in honour of the return of Evelyn Hardcastle. However, all the guests have their own agenda and someone is plotting to kill Evelyn.

Aiden must inhabit a different guest each day, living the same day again and again trying to piece together the events leading to Evelyn’s eventual demise at 11pm every night. Will he survive long to figure it out? There seems to be strange forces at work at Blackheath, and he’s not the only one trying to figure out Evelyns death and escape.

What I liked about The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle?

The plot of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is intricate and tightly woven. There are many details and characters to keep track of. Turton has a strong grasp on the reigns of this story.

You feel firmly anchored to the main character, Aiden Bishop. His confusion is your confusion, his fear is your fear. This results in a suspenseful and compelling read. The question of who kills Evelyn Hardcastle will plague you as you read, as indeed it plagues Aiden Bishop.

The elements of fantasy such as time travel, possession and Blackheath itself are unique to what is otherwise a straightforward mystery novel. This was an enjoyable twist on the genre.

The characters in this book were all complex, and we got to examine them from many different angles as Aiden Bishop inhabited different guests. I found this to be an interesting and effective way for Turton to reveal the development of different characters.

The writing itself was beautiful. It’s difficult to believe this is Turton’s debut novel! Later in the review I will share my favourite quote from the book.

What I didn’t like about The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle?

You need to be alert when reading this book. I have heard feedback from several readers that it is best undertaken in physical form as opposed to an audiobook.

That is because of the myriad of details, characters and locations the reader has to keep track of. The plot is not told in a linear fashion which at times can be confusing. I found this confusion aligned with the main character’s confusion and was resolved for me as he gained his bearings. This would suggest it is an intentional feature of the novel, rather than a symptom of poor writing.

I have read that others found the ending of the book dissatisfying and anti-climactic. I can see where they’re coming from.

When the book ends, (don’t worry, no spoilers!) it ties things up very neatly. Some may disagree with this style of ending when the rest of the novel has been so confusing and twisted. I think that it is right for this book.

At its heart, this book is a classic murder mystery. Classic murder mysteries always end with a revelation that makes all clear to both the main characters and readers. The knots are untwisted, motives are revealed. When all is clear, the fear and suspense from the rest of the novel is naturally removed. That doesn’t make the ending wrong, or bad in my opinon.

The answers provided were logical and sensible. The twists and turns were expertly unravelled, leaving us with our answers. Our ending.

Recommendation?

Fans of murder mysteries, this is a great read. If you like Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers this is a great mystery novel with the historical overtones both Sayers and Christie’s work.

If you haven’t tried murder mystery before The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle would be a great place to start exploring the genre. The novel has fantasy and science fiction elements to it, such as time travel. It’s quirky and full of great twists.

Final Thoughts

Thanks for reading along today! Do you like murder mysteries? I started reading them because I watch a lot of murder mystery television shows. Some of my favourites are: Bones, Castle, Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries and The Bletchley Circle to name a few! If you like any of these shows, comment below to let me know who your favourite character is.

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Till next week, happy reading!

Hi! I'm Steph, a freelance writer for hire based in Australia. I'm an avid reader and love all things bookish! My blog is all about the written word.

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