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The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton

on
10 June 2020
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle Book Cover The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
Stuart Turton
Murder Mystery
Raven Books
8 February 2018
Kindle
528

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLERWINNER OF THE COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARDWINNER OF THE BOOKS ARE MY BAG NOVEL AWARD 2018SHORTLISTED FOR THE SPECSAVERS NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS 2018A brilliantly original high concept murder mystery from a fantastic new talent: Gosford Park meets Inception, by way of Agatha Christie and Black MirrorOne of Stylist Magazine's 20 Must-Read Books of 2018One of Harper's Bazaar's 10 Must-Read Books of 2018One of Marie Claire, Australia's 10 Books You Absolutely Have to Read in 2018'Somebody's going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won't appear to be a murder and so the murderer won't be caught. Rectify that injustice and I'll show you the way out.' It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed. But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden - one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party - can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot. The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath...

Abstruse

Stuart Turton had an ambition of writing an Agatha Christie type murder mystery and his book The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was the culmination of that objective. With echoes of Peril at End House, Agatha Christie fans will be treated to the neglected manor house, packed with dead bodies and suspects, all confined to an isolated mansion, and murderous motives aplenty.

The plot is very difficult to summarise, but as a partial attempt, a man starts on an eight-day mission to solve a murder. Each day he awakens in a different body, to re-live the same day over again. He can only break this loop and leave Blackheath House if he can determine and prove who murdered Evelyn Hardcastle. What he discovers is that there are two other people trying to solve the murder, which hasn’t yet happened, but they have only one body to play Groundhog Day with. Only the first person to discover the murderer will be released. The main protagonist has help from the Plague Doctor, named as such because he wears a plague mask but is hunted by the murderous Footman. There are loads of rules to the body jumping and competition to be released. The real perplexing part is who the feck is controlling all this and how. A point, which now I’m finished, I still can’t figure out. My head hurts!!!

The suspense and danger are well done and that’s the saving grace and the reason it wasn’t abandoned. A story full of betrayal, fear, violence, murder, despair, mystery, confusion, friendship, caring and a good old investigation with a major dose of the supernatural. Everything gets thrown at this story. Not to forget that there is Lady and Lord Hardcastle, a disjoint family, blackmail, crazy servants, drug dealers and oh yeah the rabbits.

I think half a death was added as the book crossed the Atlantic but then maybe there were only five deaths or was it eleven. Anyhoo. The craic with Ceecee was great as we read this together, only she was preoccupied with rabbits and I thought the dead child done it all. Or maybe the rabbit killed everyone. A strange novel that just may appeal to other readers, and I can see why, but I’m afraid not for me.

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Peter Donnelly
Ireland

Founder of The Reading Desk, supporting readers, authors, publishers and book industry. Top Reviewer on Amazon, Goodreads, and NetGalley peter@thereadingdesk.com

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