The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

The Rules of BlackheathEvelyn 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,...

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Title:The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
Author:Stuart Turton
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle Reviews

  • Paromjit

    Stuart Turton has written an extraordinarily original, atmospheric, intelligent and fiendishly complex novel that I really loved! At one level it masquerades as an Agatha Christie style golden age classic crime, and indeed many of the tropes present in that genre are here such as the diverse range of characters at a country house party. It is no exaggeration to say it is so much more, including the presence of time leaps, and absolutely nothing is as it seems. Prior to the murder of Evelyn Hardc

    Stuart Turton has written an extraordinarily original, atmospheric, intelligent and fiendishly complex novel that I really loved! At one level it masquerades as an Agatha Christie style golden age classic crime, and indeed many of the tropes present in that genre are here such as the diverse range of characters at a country house party. It is no exaggeration to say it is so much more, including the presence of time leaps, and absolutely nothing is as it seems. Prior to the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle, there was another death 19 years ago where justice was not fully served. Aiden Bishop is a guest at the party where Evelyn is murdered, he is trapped in a nightmarish Groundhog Day, destined to relive that day until he solves the crime and identifies the murderer. Each day he takes on the body of a different character at the party, with all the consequent complications that ensue, such as the differing friend circles and enemies.

    Turton gives us a heavily detailed, inventive and ambitious story with beautiful, and lyrical prose. Whilst I found it compulsive reading, it is not a book for everyone, I can see many finding it frustrating. The author is to be congratulated for penning a tale, which whilst occasionally exasperating, allows the reader to exercise their little grey cells! This is a book for those who enjoy being taken out of their comfort zone, enjoy intriguing puzzles and have a penchant for the curious and the strange. A brilliant and twisted read that is never less than enthralling. Many thanks to Bloomsbury for an ARC.

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    All the stars! Review first posted on

    :

    Debut author Stuart Turton’s

    , originally published earlier this year in Great Britain as

    , is an intricately plotted murder mystery, set in an isolated early 20th century English mansion, with a highly imaginative speculative element that is only gradually revealed, as our main character tries to figure out who he really is, and how to solve the mystery of Evelyn Hardcastle

    All the stars! Review first posted on

    :

    Debut author Stuart Turton’s

    , originally published earlier this year in Great Britain as

    , is an intricately plotted murder mystery, set in an isolated early 20th century English mansion, with a highly imaginative speculative element that is only gradually revealed, as our main character tries to figure out who he really is, and how to solve the mystery of Evelyn Hardcastle’s pending death … or has her death already occurred?

    **I've avoided spoilers BUT I do discuss a part of the basic concept of the book in this review, some of the things that are disclosed around the 12-15% mark, not to mention in the book's blurb. There's definitely something to be said, though, for going into this book completely cold, like I did. If you're interested in doing that, stop reading this review, don't look at anyone else's, and just go read this book! It's worth your time!**

    The plot and setting are worthy of Agatha Christie: Lord and Lady Hardcastle have invited a number of guests to their British country mansion, Blackheath House, for a weekend party to celebrate the return of their daughter, Evelyn, from Paris. (The notable guests and household staff are conveniently listed in a copy of the party invitation at the beginning of the book.) One of the guests, Dr. Sebastian Bell, suddenly comes to himself while running through the forest surrounding Blackheath. The name “Anna” was on his lips, but he has no idea who Anna is or who he himself is. His memory is completely blank. Bell is horrified to see a man chasing a woman through the forest, and then a scream and a pistol shot.

    Eventually Bell, with a little mysterious help, makes his way back to the mansion, where he tries to convince the other guests to search for the woman he is certain was murdered in the forest. But nobody at Blackheath knows (or in any case admits to knowing) a woman named Anna, and they’re dubious about Bell’s improbably story, particularly in light of his amnesia. Bell meets several of the other guests, including Evelyn Hardcastle, a blonde woman in her late twenties who quickly strikes up a friendship with him (“I loathe getting to know people, so whenever I meet somebody I like, I just assume a friendship immediately. It saves a great deal of time in the long run.”) In the late evening Bell sees something that frightens him so much he faints. He wakes up in another person’s body ― the butler, Mr. Collins ― in the morning of the same day that he just lived through as Sebastian Bell. His day as Collins is even more hellish than it was the first time around. And then he wakes up again, early in the morning of that same day, in another person’s body. Is there a way out of this nightmare?

    I went into

    without knowing anything about its plot; I had conveniently forgotten the blurb by the time I began reading the book. Normally I hate not having context in a novel, and being confused about what the book I’m reading is generally about. But in this case going in blind was highly appropriate, because our main character (who does find out his real name eventually) initially has no idea who he actually is or what is going on around him. The light sheds very gradually, but it all comes together in the end with an awesome set of twists and turns that Dame Christie herself certainly would have admired. Characters often aren’t who they seem, and events that seemed to signify one thing frequently turn out to have an entirely different meaning.

    The plot of

    is so layered, with a tremendously tight timeline and so many interwoven elements and characters, that I can’t help but picture Turton writing this novel in a room filled with vast numbers of Post-it notes and crisscrossing strings tying everything together, like in the old

    TV show.

    (Turton has, in fact, stated that he used a massive spreadsheet, a notepad for each character, and a map of the setting ― as well as the aforementioned Post-it notes ― in the process of writing this book.) The speculative element is fascinating, if slightly far-fetched, but undeniably creative. When the main character realizes that the personalities of his host bodies are leaking through, affecting his thoughts and reactions, it deepens the plot.

    On top of this, Turton adds insightful writing that’s a pleasure to read. I highlighted some sixty passages in the book; some of them were to help me keep track of the plot and characters, but others were simply for the beauty of Turton’s writing.

    Turton also adds symbolism to

    , including the decaying mansion, Blackheath, which echoes the failings and degeneracies of the upper class characters who are the guests at this dubious house party. A chess piece appears and reappears. A person in the costume of a plague doctor shares information with our main character about his situation and his mission.

    This compelling murder mystery, wrapped in a soft science fiction enigma, is a truly impressive debut novel. Its combination of classic British mystery,

    and

    blew my mind! I enthusiastically recommend it, and I seriously can’t wait to see what Stuart Turton comes up with next.

  • Emily (Books with Emily Fox)

    (4.5) If you’re looking for a book to keep you awake at night because you NEED to finish it then this is it!

    I loved how unique the premise was, a murder-mystery where the main character gets to relive the same day 8 times to try and solve it but every day he's in a different body.

    It was also interesting to see how the different

    (4.5) If you’re looking for a book to keep you awake at night because you NEED to finish it then this is it!

    I loved how unique the premise was, a murder-mystery where the main character gets to relive the same day 8 times to try and solve it but every day he's in a different body.

    It was also interesting to see how the different bodies/personalities affected the story and there were twists I didn’t see coming.

    I was feeling a reading slump creeping in and this book fixed it so I’m rounding it up to 5 stars.

    Would recommend if you’re in the mood for a mystery with a sci-fi twist to it!

  • Amalia Gavea

    What would it be like if one day we found ourselves in an another body? What if this happened on a daily basis? Us changing the vessel but retaining most of the traits that make us who we are? What if by changing identities we could turn back the time and prevent an injustice, a horrible crime? This is the wonderful premise of this exquisite novel by Stuart Turton, one of the most unique books of the year.

    A man has the opportunit

    What would it be like if one day we found ourselves in an another body? What if this happened on a daily basis? Us changing the vessel but retaining most of the traits that make us who we are? What if by changing identities we could turn back the time and prevent an injustice, a horrible crime? This is the wonderful premise of this exquisite novel by Stuart Turton, one of the most unique books of the year.

    A man has the opportunity to stop the murder of a young woman, Evelyn Hardcastle. In full Groundhog Day mood, he is given eight days and eight identities in which he must find the one responsible for the crime, otherwise everything will become irreversible. So, during a gathering that commemorates a tragic incident in the Hardcastle estate, justice must prevail. However, the wrongs that must be made right reach beyond a single murder…

    The story is set in Britain, around the late 20s, early 30s from what I could gather and the thing that fascinated me most in this novel isn’t the mystery itself or the unusual background- although they are both brilliant- but the focus on human nature and its various and interminable implications. I can’t even imagine the Herculean task of creating eight different characters to become the vessels of one person, all with their own characteristics and mannerisms and resulting in such a successful and marvelously written story. I admit I was a little bit cautious prior to reading Turton’s book. I thought it would be too confusing or wordy but I couldn’t be more wrong. Obviously, I cannot write a single sentence about the plot but I swear a most solemn vow to you that you will find yourselves with your mouth open in shock for about 60% of the story. That’s how perfect this book is. So many twists, so many different, complicated, tiny pieces of an exciting puzzle. I promise you you won’t be bored or confused. And if you do get confused, it will be in the best way possible.

    There is seldom such a rich array of characters who are all interesting, secretive, twisted, kind, intelligent, manipulative. Think of any adjective in any language and it will apply perfectly to this perfect cast. As Aidan discovers clues -only to be left in the darkness soon after- so do we. As he meets the guests, as he gets the chance to live inside some of the characters, he gives us the opportunity to collect more evidence. We know nothing before he does and we obtain a much clearer picture of every person involved in the story. How many times can we claim this happens in a mystery? Not even in some of Christie’s finest creations, in my opinion. Personally speaking, the figure of the Plague Doctor was the king of the story. Such a creepy, intimidating, cryptic character that elevated the novel into a whole new level. He embodies the concept of the Mask perfectly since nothing is as it first appears. Everyone undergoes a major transformation and every expectation and belief is turned upside down right until the spectacular ending.

    I would love to tell you so much more- good, old, blabby me- but I can’t. You absolutely, utterly (...again with the adverbs, I know…) NEED to read

    . It is a reading experience unlike anything we’ve seen and read before. I would like to end this text with a question taken from the Reading Group Guide, included in the book, which I feel captures the psychological weight and the very essence of the entire story.

    Many thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange of an honest review.

    My reviews can also be found on

  • Em (RunawayWithDreamthieves)

    Has anyone ever finished a book and was tempted to pull a Luke Skywalker and just disappear to an island in the middle of nowhere and dramatically stare at the ocean for an unascertained amount of time? Because I felt that.

    I didn't expect to tear into this book, but I did—there was just so much restlessness in my reading, an

    to reach the ending. It’s been days and I am still so keenly, strangely, extensively aware of explosions still taking place inside my head. Honestly? If Hollywood do

    Has anyone ever finished a book and was tempted to pull a Luke Skywalker and just disappear to an island in the middle of nowhere and dramatically stare at the ocean for an unascertained amount of time? Because I felt that.

    I didn't expect to tear into this book, but I did—there was just so much restlessness in my reading, an

    to reach the ending. It’s been days and I am still so keenly, strangely, extensively aware of explosions still taking place inside my head. Honestly? If Hollywood doesn't turn this into a movie....I will personally riot.

    Our narrator wakes up in a dripping forest, with nothing but the shade of an old unnameable fear, and the eerie sensation of being followed, an invisible gaze locked on his back. He has no recollection of who he is, and he has no more notion how he got there than he did the moon. But his head is firing thought after thought that can’t seem to complete themselves and they all begin with a name:

    , and never seem to end.

    He later learns that his name is Aiden Bishop and he’s trapped inside a stranger’s body. A masked figure curtly informs him that he must unveil a murder disguised as to not look like one if he wants to earn his release, and

    If he fails to uncover the name of the would-be murderer, he will return to the first day, memory moped clean, and start all over again as he has apparently already done innumerable times before.

    Matters are made worse when Aiden realizes he isn’t the only one carried so long here and there on a stream and washed now to this strange shore: two other people are also ensnarled inside this time loop, and a knife-wielding Footman is out for their blood.

    Aiden, Anna and the anonymous rivals are pieces on the game board, and there is

    at stake.

    is a dazzling, mind-bending murder mystery…

    . It’s a locked-room thriller with a nearly imperceptible warp wavering in its center. A brilliantly balanced knife's edge of a book—unfolding gradually but deliberately, with secrets unveiled as more lies are told. Every sentence was a labyrinth to navigate and my mind often felt like a door blown open in a storm. The whole experience of reading this book felt like an elaborate lie to me, some made-up fantasyland I was locked in for a set number of hours a day. And like Aiden, every moment, I was caught between another dead end and another lead.

    In richness of ideas, and in glory of sentences, this book is spectacular. I was deeply impressed by the sense of scope, the minute turnings of characters and their choices and how those ripples affect other players, by the hints strewn like breadcrumbs throughout the narrative and the puzzle pieces that were constantly moving around. This was genuinely brilliant and so intricately crafted and I’m still left marveling at how one person’s brain can contain multitudes.

    might be focused on the story of Aiden Bishop but the stories of many others are caught up in the wheel of his, and as that wheel turns, so do these many intertwined lives and fates. The narration lingers in the memories and lives of each “host”, dipping in and out of them like toes in a pool. The book makes you question what you know about these characters, their lives and their secrets.

    Aiden’s very sense of self is threatened to be overruled by the personalities of his hosts, most of which were nasty pieces of work: more than slightly sexist, selfish, mean, manipulative, abusive, more often than not physical and moral cowards—yet still compelling even when you can’t bring yourself to like them even a little bit, and I think that says a lot for the author’s skill.

    corkscrews into a tighter and tighter coil with every page and it isn't long before Aiden’s constant picking at the stray threads of his new jarring reality makes the whole come apart, revealing far more than was ever dreamt of.

    and I was left astounded into an awed slow-clap at everything the author has accomplished here.

    When I flipped that last page, all I could do was breathe out, with the kind of eloquence and poise perfectly befitting the situation: "Holy shit. What did I just read?"

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  • (Bern) Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas

    This was such an intricately layered plot. I refuse to explain it. This is the kind of read that you absolutely need to jump into blindly. You will feel like you are flailing in the water, drowning. Just keep reading, treading through the chapters as you go. Grab hold of the bits that are sent your way and store them.

    Honestly, it still won't be enough. I thought I was prepared for Turton. I read carefully, giving it full attention. I even re-read parts to be sure I understood

    This was such an intricately layered plot. I refuse to explain it. This is the kind of read that you absolutely need to jump into blindly. You will feel like you are flailing in the water, drowning. Just keep reading, treading through the chapters as you go. Grab hold of the bits that are sent your way and store them.

    Honestly, it still won't be enough. I thought I was prepared for Turton. I read carefully, giving it full attention. I even re-read parts to be sure I understood what I thought I was meant to understand. Still, I did not see where I was being led.

    It was not only an expertly crafted whodunnit. It truly ends up being so much more.

    What a debut! I can not wait to see where Turton's mind takes us next.

  • ❄️Nani❄️

    4.5⭐

    Do you know how many books it’d taken me to finally use the word, unputdownable? I think I'm more thrilled to have finally said it than actually reading this book. What can I say, I'm a simple girl. The simple pleasures bring me the most joy.

    But back to the task at hand because friends, let me tell you, this. Was. Unputdownable!

    Hold on, let me gather my wits first, this book was very taxing on my brain.

    So, you’re thinking ‘a high-concept crime fiction, how derivative,’ right? Well, you hav

    4.5⭐️

    Do you know how many books it’d taken me to finally use the word, unputdownable? I think I'm more thrilled to have finally said it than actually reading this book. What can I say, I'm a simple girl. The simple pleasures bring me the most joy.

    But back to the task at hand because friends, let me tell you, this. Was. Unputdownable!

    Hold on, let me gather my wits first, this book was very taxing on my brain.

    So, you’re thinking ‘a high-concept crime fiction, how derivative,’ right? Well, you haven’t heard anything yet, have you? Yes, derivative it may indeed be, I mean, how many times have you probably heard or read, [said book] meets [said book] right? At this point, I'm not sure if I'm enticing or putting you off reading this.

    But before you cast it aside, hear me out. First, let me thank the lovelies

    and

    , without whom I wouldn't have heard about this book.

    Thank you for giving my brain a good beating!

    Set in the early 1920s -although it reads like late-Victorian gothic at times, with its remote setting and disturbing atmosphere with a touch of the supernatural-, the book opens with a narrator running through a forest with no idea who or where he is, wearing someone else’s dinner jacket and, he soon realises, someone else’s body. He has no memory of how he came to be trapped inside this stranger.

    Aiden Bishop, as we soon figure out our leads name, turns out is here for a reason and he also starts each day with no memories of the past.

    An eerie masked figure informs him that today, a murder will be committed – a murder that won’t seem like a murder and Aiden has eight chances to solve it. He is obliged to repeat the same day over and over until he nails the murderer of the heiress of the title and thus breaks this vicious cycle.

    But each morning he’ll wake up in a different body, or “host” among the visitors to Blackheath House, each with their own distinct personality. He’ll remember his experiences in the previous hosts, but if he doesn’t give the masked figure the name of the killer by day eight, he’ll be returned to day one, memory wiped, and have to start all over again.

    Did I forget to mention there are two other members of the party who are also hosts to foreign souls, tasked with unveiling the murderer? That’s right, and only one of the three can succeed and thereby be freed from the time loop. And, just because his life doesn’t suck enough, he is being sought by a knife-wielding psychopathic footman who targets each of the hosts in turn. In a nutshell, your run of the mill party from hell.

    In all honesty, the above synopsis hardly does justice to the ingenuity of Turton’s intricate narrative and the mind-boggling complexity of the plot.

    The tension kicks in on page one and barely lets up through the entire book. There is a twist on nearly every page that demands your full attention as there quite a few information to take in and people to remember. I highly recommend reading this with a few breaks in the middle as possible so as to keep every detail fresh in your head but you probably won't want to put it down anyway. Remember?Unputdownable?

    Not only does Turton do a great job of transfixing the reader's attention immediately, he keeps the tension high throughout the entire book. The characters are actors in a play doing the same thing night after night and each person has a motive. Each person wears a mask and you do not know who’s who. Every little conversation has a significance, every detail or interaction is important.

    Familiar tropes aside, in essence, it is a classic ‘who-done-it’, but written with a quirky originality and a fusion of genres, all mashed into one, Crime, Mystery, Psychological, Sci-fi, Adventure, Thriller, and a Detective novel, who’s no clue which way’s up or down. I also loved the writing style. So very much actually, which was sort of darkly comic and witty as the plot is dizzyingly complex.

    So, why, if I loved it this much was it not 5 stars? Because my big mouth spoke too soon. Up until the last few pages I was all set to slap this baby up with the full rating, thinking, ‘This is incredible. I haven't read a book that I so easily gave 5 stars to since

    ,’ you’ll know I’m coyly but not so cleverly trying to sway you to read that magnificent book -you know: two birds, one stone and all-, but I see I hereby defeated that purpose by admitting so. Never mind, moving on...

    Anyhow, all was rainbows and unicorns right until I reached the last 50 or so pages when I started to get a little frustrated with Aiden and some of the decisions he was making. I simply wanted to shake the saint out of him and make him see reason but that may be the cynic in me talking.

    Furthermore, there’s a loss of emotional engagement, albeit on a small scale, as each morning we’re having to deal with a different character without getting fully aquatinted with the previous. Also, each morning victims are brought back to life, thereby making the act of murder here seem no more dreadful than going flicking on and off a light switch.

    My biggest issue was here in the climax. As dazzling as the finale was, and it was indeed that, with a series of last-minute twisty WTF revelations, I still felt…. somewhat underwhelmed by it all? I still don’t know what but something was missing and I wasn’t 100% satisfied. That too may be attributed to my being overly picky but… still.

    I also would have preferred the nature of Blackheath to be left more ambiguous, a mystery that’d make my dreams long after I’ve finished the book but this particular shortcoming in no way hindered my overall enjoyment.

    All in all, if you’re in need of an invigoratingly original and entertaining read that’ll tie your brain in knots,

    might just be the answer.

  • Hailey (HaileyinBookland)

    This was w i l d wow.

  • Berit☀️✨

    The concept of this book was really quite brilliant... A little reminiscent of both

    and

    with the added little twist of the body swapping....

    Admittedly it is holiday time and I was not as focused on this book as I needed to be.... so as far as me being confused throughout the majority of this book, it could very likely just be a me problem.... I kept needing to go back and reread parts because I reall

    The concept of this book was really quite brilliant... A little reminiscent of both

    and

    with the added little twist of the body swapping....

    Admittedly it is holiday time and I was not as focused on this book as I needed to be.... so as far as me being confused throughout the majority of this book, it could very likely just be a me problem.... I kept needing to go back and reread parts because I really got lost as to what body Aidan was in at what time..... I was also a little bit overwhelmed keeping track of all the characters and what part they played in the story, but again it could have been me!

    I liked the premise, I really was intrigued by the mystery, I just was not invested enough to probably grasp the full concept.... additionally I had a huge expectation of a fabulous ending that would make all of this make complete sense to me, and that sadly did not happen for me.....

    So while I found this book very clever in concept, I found it a little... ok really a lot confusing for me.... The good news is this book is not released until September, so I might give it another chance this summer when I can be a little more focused and give it the proper attention it probably deserves...

    *** i’d like to thank Net Galley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review ***

    This was a Traveling Sister read, that left Norma, Marie Alyce, and myself baffled... truly think it was bad timing, definitely not a holiday read! But thanks ladies for making me realize I was not alone in this! 😘

    You can find all the Traveling Sisters reviews at Norma and Brenda’s fabulous blog...

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