A new rabbit hole to follow…

The 7 and 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a total trip.

Guests are invited to the Hardcastle family mansion, a dilapidated Blackheath House in the English countryside, for a costume party that the Hardcastles are holding for the return of their daughter, Evelyn. Evelyn has been living in Paris, after a tragedy visits the family when she was young. Sounds like it’s going to be a blast: dress up, booze, big house, and a bang up ball!

Well, the story certainly starts with bang as an unnamed protagonist comes to Blackheath (that’s the big house) and enlists those inside to find the body of a woman he thinks has just been murdered in the woods. He has forgotten his identify, but people at the house think he’s Dr. Sebastian Bell, a guest arrived for the party. It turns out Bell is the first of eight people—invited guests or employees of the Hardcastles—whom the main character will physically inhabit over eight days in a repeating loop (think Quantum Leap).

This loop proceeds to revolve around two murder mysteries: who killed young Thomas Hardcastle 19 years ago, and who murders Evelyn, his older sister, the night of the party? The other mystery is really the efforts of the main character to figure out how to break the endless loop of waking up in different bodies? (My recommendation is to lay off the sauce, but that’s just me)

Overall, I really enjoyed this plot, seemingly not bound by science. What really set it apart for me is that it wasn’t just standard whodunit/mystery. It was absolutely more than that. It has this element of the fantastic and unbelievable, but laid out with such effort at logic that it’s hard not to make an effort to crack the case. It’s Agatha Christie meets Stanley Kubrick, with a twist. Get your copy today.

Book review Stuart Turton 7 deaths of evelyn hardcastle mystery fiction The 7 and 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turnton. Photo by @a_worm_in_a_book

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