The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton

35967101.jpg Published by Raven Books, February 2018
Source: NetGalley ARC
‘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…

A man awakes in a wood, with no memory of who he is or how he got there, and with only a single name on his lips. A figure is seen running, and soon after, a gunshot. What follows is a stately home murder mystery the like of which you’ve never seen before…

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is, to put it simply, one of the best books I’ve read in a long, long time. It’s fabulously mind-twistingly clever, with a high-concept plot, a host of splendid, characters and a delightfully Christie-esque setting. It’s a book which demands that you pay attention, and rewards you handsomely for doing so. You know who dies from the title itself, but unlike your common or garden whodunnit, you follow the course of a day many times over, from different viewpoints as our protagonist tries to solve the question of who killed Evelyn Hardcastle, and more importantly, why.

I’m in awe of the plotting at work here – multiple characters interwoven across a day and the rooms and grounds of Blackheath. It’s been compared to Agatha Christie meets Inception, but it’s so much more than that – throw in a dash of Quantum Leap, and a smidgeon of Cluedo, topped off with a light dusting of Groundhog Day. I can picture the author in a room with a large map and a ball of red string, laying out the timelines.

Look. It’s genius. Just go and order yourself a copy. The hardback comes with maps, and who doesn’t love a good map in a book? I’ve already got a copy on order so I can read it again and savour it. There’s not many books I get a chance to re-read, but I’m looking forward to re-reading this one again. And again. And again…

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is published in the UK by Raven Books in February 2018. Our US chums will have to wait until September 2018, unfortunately, but you get an extra half death, as over there it’s called The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.

Many thanks to Raven Books and NetGalley for the review copy. I’m hoping to have a Q&A with Stuart Turton closer to the publication date, so watch this space!

You can find Stuart on twitter @stu_turton

Author: dave

writer, photographer, coffee-lover, cyclist, bookworm and stationery geek. Doing fun things with digital.

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