The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

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From the moment I first heard the premise of Stuart Turton’s debut novel, I was desperate to get my hands on a copy and it became one of my most anticipated reads of this year. The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle is a murder mystery like no other, one which offers an original take on a classic crime novel.

The events take place at Blackheath, a grand, if a little decrepit, home in which the Lord and Lady Hardcastle are hosting a ball. The event is held in celebration of their daughter Evelyn’s return, but the jubilant celebrations turn into tragedy when she is murdered. However, there is more to the tragedy than meets the eye, suspicious circumstances surrounding the death and a web of secrets and lies to untangle. And it falls to Aiden Bishop, one of the party guests, to find the truth. The country house setting and array of guests all with their own secrets to hide bring to mind a classic crime tale in the style of Agatha Christie. But what makes Seven Deaths so unique is its mind bending use of time travel, and body hopping. Until Aiden can piece together the mystery surrounding Evelyn’s untimely demise, he must relive the same day over and over again, and at the same time each day, Evelyn dies once more. This was a concept I loved which really added to the intrigue and the complexity of the storytelling. And to make Aiden’s task even more difficult, as each day begins again, he wakes up in the body of a different guest, all with different perspectives and stories to tell…

I was quickly drawn into the world in Blackheath, a house which holds many secrets all of which form pieces of the puzzle surrounding Evelyn’s murder. I really enjoyed seeing Aiden wake up in the body of a different host, trying to acclimatise to his surroundings and his host’s persona whilst trying not to lose grip of his own mind. He finds himself in a race against time to put the clues together to find out who is responsible, uncovering more details along the way and trying to make sense of the events as they unfold. As Aiden switches between characters I was a little unsure at the start about who was who but as I read on I soon became enthralled by the story and eager to read on (sleep, who needs sleep?) I won’t say too much about the plot as part of the brilliance of this book is picking up on new clues and working out where they fit in the story. But what I can say is this is an incredibly inventive novel with an array of quirky characters, and amongst them there are plenty of revelations, secrets, and past tragedy to uncover. I do think this is a book that requires your full concentration, and it certainly gets you thinking as you try to keep up with the developments and the clues – well worth a read if you like unravelling a mystery!

I loved The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle and it is one of my favourite books of the year so far. Stuart Turton has created a mind blowing mystery story with fascinating characters which was perfectly plotted and had me hooked!

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