Book review: The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton


“Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day . . . quite unlike anything I’ve ever read, and altogether triumphant.” – A. J. Finn, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Woman in the Window

Aiden Bishop knows the rules. Evelyn Hardcastle will die every day until he 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 at Blackheath Manor. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others. With a locked room mystery that Agatha Christie would envy, Stuart Turton unfurls a breakneck novel of intrigue and suspense.

For fans of Claire North, and Kate Atkinson, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a breathlessly addictive mystery that follows one man’s race against time to find a killer, with an astonishing time-turning twist that means nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

Ladies and Gentlemen, you are cordially invited to Blackheath House for The Masquerade. Get ready to be lost… and deceived… and manipulated… and utterly confused.

“How lost do you have to be to let the devil lead you home?”

May I present 7½ reasons to read The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.

Reason #1: Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day.

I f you a fan of murder mystery a-la Agatha Christie-style e.g. murder, a lot of suspects and a closed space. On top of that, all these things keep repeating over and over in a loop that lasts for 8 days, during which you either find the killer or fail and start again without your memories of the previous loop. A killer party!

Reason #2: Roaring 20’s.

I am a huge fan of detective stories set in the early 20th century, hence my reference to reason #1. The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle hits right in the bull’s eye, delivering a smoking mix of historical and mysterious that will, at the least, intrigue a reader and, at the most, make one feel all those jazz vibes.

Reason #3: Main character.

Aiden Bishop is the main character. We are literally in his head and he is in the heads of 8 people. Confusing, right? But what fun it was, to follow the story through so many different people with their own personalities ready to burst and influence Aidan’s choices and actions. They were not always good or kind, they were not always cooperative. But what would be the point if everything was easy, right? Just get comfortable (or not) inside this crowd and enjoy the ride!

Reason #4: Murder mystery.

I tell ya all, I was so confused during the whole act! I couldn’t wrap my brain around what was going on. Who’s the killer, who’s the ally, who’s the enemy. Aaahhhh, utterly delicious torture!

Reason #5: Blackheath House.

The same as in Rebecca the house feels like a character. It’s a living, breathing creature with its mysteries and traps, full of ghosts. And the murderer is lurking in its shadows, ready to pounce. Get ready for a huge gothic vibe!

Reason #6: The Footman.

An ordinary word, right? There are thousands – millions of footmen all over the world. Absolutely common people. Oh no, after you meet The Footman, you will never look at any other representative of their profession through the harmless eye. Run, rabbit, run!

Reason #7: Evelyn Hardcastle.

It would be strange if I didn’t dedicate one reason to read this book to the main hindrance of the book. Evelyn Hardcastle is, after all, the reason for everything happening in the book. And she’s quite an interesting character, whose secrets a reader wants to unravel. Beware your wishes, dear reader!

Reason #½: Original idea.

For sure, if I had left more numbers I’d give the whole point to the uniqueness of Stuart Turton’s idea. The man is a genius, really! He made a mix of hyena and a lamb and wrapped it all in a glittering cover, making us believe that we are holding our fingers on the pulse of the story; it’s under our control when in reality one can’t even start to wrap their head around the enormity of every chess piece in the book. What world even this one we are stuck inside? Is it real, is it some kind of parallel reality? Is that hell? Well, to get your answers, you need to read the book.

One of the best reads of the year! Highly recommended!

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