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The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle Summary and Reviews

The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

UK Title: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

by Stuart Turton

The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton X
The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
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  • Published Sep 2018
    448 pages
    Genre: Mysteries

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About this book

Book Summary

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.

Shortlisted for the Specsavers National Book Award (New Writers)
One of Stylist Magazine's 20 Must-Read Books of 2018
One of Harper's Bazaar's 10 Must-Read Books of 2018


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...

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Book Awards

  • award image Costa Book Awards, 2018

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Dazzling. A revolving door of suspects (and narrators); a sumptuous country-house setting; a pure-silk Möbius strip of a story. This bracingly original, fiendishly clever murder mystery - Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day - is quite unlike anything I've ever read, and altogether triumphant. I wish I'd written it." - A. J. Finn, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Woman in the Window

"Turton's debut is a brainy, action-filled sendup of the classic mystery." - Kirkus

"This novel is so ingenious and original that it's difficult to believe it's Turton's debut. The writing is completely immersive...there are certainly echoes of Agatha Christie here, but it's Christie ramped up several notches, thanks to the malevolent twist on the Groundhog Day theme. Readers may be scratching their heads in delicious befuddlement as they work their way through this novel, but one thing will be absolutely clear: Stuart Turton is an author to remember." - Booklist

"This book blew my mind! Utterly original and unique." - International bestseller Sophie Hannah

"If Agatha Christie and Terry Pratchett had ever had LSD-fuelled sex, then The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle would be their acid trip book baby. Darkly comic, mind-blowingly twisty, and with a cast of fantastically odd characters, this is a locked room mystery like no other." - Sarah Pinborough, New York Times bestselling author

"I hereby declare Stuart Turton the Mad Hatter of Crime. The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is unique, energizing, and clever. So original, a brilliant read." - Ali Land, Sunday Times bestselling author Good Me Bad Me

"Agatha Christie meets Downton Abbey with a splash of red wine and Twin Peaks. Dark and twisty, lush and riddled with gorgeous prose, part of me will always be trapped in Blackheath." - Delilah S. Dawson, New York Times bestselling author

"A kaleidoscopic mystery that brilliantly bends the limits of the genre and the mind of the reader. The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is urgent, inventive, creepy and, above all, a blast to read!" - Matthew Sullivan, author of Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

"Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! It's a work of sheer genius. An amazing, unique book that blew my mind." - Sarah J. Harris, author of The Color of Bee Larkham's Murder

"Gloriously inventive, playful and clever, this is a must for mystery fans. I wish I'd written it myself..." - Robin Stevens, author of the Wells and Wong mystery series

This information about The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Cloggie Downunder

Original and very clever
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is the first novel by British freelance travel journalist and author, Stuart Turton. When Aiden Bishop wakes, inhabiting the body of Dr Simon Bell, on the floor of the forest, he has no memory. He does not know his own name, nor that of the body he’s occupying. He has not a clue how he came to be there. And he doesn’t realise that he is destined to spend the next eight days reliving the same day, over and over, hosted in different bodies. Some will be hale and hearty; others elderly and frail, or suffering injury; some are cowards, some intelligent, some malicious, others fools.

What Aiden is certain about is that Anna is in danger, if not dead: he has seen a woman flee through the wood, chased by a man, then hears a gunshot. Finding his way to a country mansion in disrepair, he learns he is a guest at Blackheath for a party celebrating the return, from Paris, of the daughter, Evelyn Hardcastle. And he is subsequently told that the only way to escape Blackheath is to discover the identity of the person who murders Evelyn at 11pm.

What an interesting closed-room mystery! As Aiden cycles through his hosts, he gains a new perspective on the day’s events, and gathers clues that may help him escape. Adding an element of surprise and danger is the fact that Aiden is not the only person trying to solve this murder. And because there are so many characters, so many facets to the day, so many intrigues, so many secrets, and so many (in excess of ten) murder victims, the reader will do well to take notes. And even then, many things are not what they first appear.

The plot is quite complicated, with plenty of twists and tricks and intricate details. There is quite a lot of blackmail, a 19-year-old murder not entirely solved, impersonation, and a footman who likes to use a knife on people. There is an array of interesting and sometimes quirky characters. While the jumps between days are clearly marked, the convoluted nature of events requires a good memory. The map of the house and grounds, and the character list, are essential. Original and very clever.

wincheryl

Murder mystery party
The author used a wall of post it notes to keep track of all the characters while he wrote it. I felt I needed a wall of post it notes just to read this book. I went back to the guest list so many times I thought about making a copy of it. This book required a lot of concentration to read but overall I enjoyed it. I felt I was at a murder mystery dinner and had clues being thrown at me continually.

Techeditor

Confusing
The confusion begins with the title. First, it implies that Evelyn Hardcastle is who this story is about. But it isn’t, really. Second, the title also implies that Evelyn Hardcastle will die 7 1/2 times. But no.

That’s OK. Titles are often mysteries. But even now that I’ve finished the book, I’m still not sure about those 7 1/2 deaths. I’m confused because I think there were more.

A man who we eventually learn is Aiden Bishop finds himself at a large estate that is in severe disrepair. He doesn’t know why he is there; he has no memories. He doesn’t even know who he is.

I don’t want to describe the story in much detail because different parts confused me throughout. I may describe something in one way, but you may read it and understand it in another way. It’s that confusing.

I know this, though. Bishop is tasked with solving the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle. But who has given him this task? By the end of the book there will be a sort of answer. But even that person has superiors, and we are never told who they are.

Bishop inhabits the bodies of several guests at the estate. In this way, he sees Evelyn Hardcastle and the goings on of many other guests at the estate from many perspectives so he can solve the mystery of her murder. He even tries to prevent it.

This story contains so many characters it is difficult to keep track of them all. And it is especially difficult to remember who did what. If you are one of those fortunate people who can sit and read a book all day, I think you may have a chance at avoiding confusion. But if you have to put the book down to go to work or to go to sleep, you are bound to be confused. Thank goodness someone was thoughtful enough to include a list of characters near the front of the book.

I don’t know if this author reads reader reviews, but he should learn about a repeated editorial error that a good editor should have caught and corrected. Turton and his editor should learn the difference between "intended on" and “intended to.” "Intended on” is a mistake that is repeated throughout this book. No one intends on doing anything; they either intend to do it, or they plan on doing it.

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Author Information

Stuart Turton Author Biography

Stuart Turton's debut novel, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, won the Costa First Novel Award and the Books Are My Bag Readers Award for Best Novel, and was shortlisted for the Specsavers National Book Awards and the British Book Awards Debut of the Year. A Sunday Times bestseller, it has been translated into over thirty languages, and has sold over one million copies in the UK and US combined. The Devil and the Dark Water, his follow up, won the Books Are My Bag Readers Award for Fiction and was selected for the BBC Two Book Club, Between the Covers, and the Radio 2 Jo Whiley Book Club. Stuart lives near London with his wife and daughters.

Other books by Stuart Turton at BookBrowse
  • The Last Murder at the End of the World jacket
  • The Devil and the Dark Water jacket
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