Book Review : The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle


Tonight, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed … Again

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…

Review (*spoiler-free):

As it appears in the image, I read ‘The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle’ by Stuart Turton and not ‘The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle’ apparently. It seems that I read the British edition, hence the difference in titles. Nonetheless, it doesn’t matter much as long as Evelyn Hardcastle dies more than seven times! This is the author’s debut novel and it turned out to be a mighty impressive one, winning the Costa book awards in 2018! It took him more than two years to write the book and I think that’s pretty justified, given the complex plot and characters. You have to render your utmost attention while reading every chapter as they depict the same day over again but from eight different perspectives. 

The story is about solving Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder, in a mansion near to a forest in Britain, amidst a party, set around 1920s. As the blurb says, Aiden Bishop wakes up in the body of eight different guests and relives the same day over. His task is to find out who wants to murder Evelyn Hardcastle in lieu of his freedom from Blackheath, the mansion. There’s Aiden, the mysterious Anna, Evelyn and eight other hosts – a corsage of peculiar characters with secrets of their own. There’s love, murder, plots, lords, a potential marriage, a not-so-forgotten death and deceit. There’s also this fantastical phenomenon of time loop – reliving the same day, and body swapping (well, not exactly). It’s a whirlwind, really. 

I wasn’t half expecting this from the book when I picked it up. These convoluted worlds, about a century ago, aren’t too familiar yet. The men go hunting in the forest while the women drink and laze in the library. It’s difficult to pick on the story but I think tying up the loose ends seemed a little floppy and the climax was rushed. 

All I can say is that I was pretty awestruck by the story itself and the writing had a nice crisp old-school British charm to it. Nonetheless, it’s a hell of a thriller and absolutely recommended! I read most people didn’t like it because it is complex. I had heard about this book in a reading group and I’m glad I read it since it tickled quite a few grey cells. Shouldn’t that be the idea behind reading a thriller? 

P.S. – I’ll tell you who my favourite host was, tell me yours in the comments? 

My Rating: 4.5/5

About the author: 

Stuart Turton is a freelance travel journalist who has previously worked in Shanghai and Dubai. Stuart Turton’s debut novel, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, won the 2019 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 for three weeks, it has been translated into over thirty languages and has also been a bestseller in Italy, Russia and Poland. Stuart lives near London with his wife and daughter.

Book Details:

Language: English,  Genre: Fiction / Mystery /Fantasy

Author(s): Stuart Turton

Publisher: Raven Books, Year Published: Feb 2018

Binding: Kindle, Edition: First, Pages: 519


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20 thoughts on “Book Review : The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

  1. Pingback: Best Reads of 2020 | One and a Half Minutes

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