The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton is crazy. And I mean that in the best possible way. This one is Agatha Christie meets Groundhog’s Day meets something all its own.
As I mentioned in the preview, the synopsis is brief, which is good because there are plenty of twists, turns and odd happenings that take place. The story is a murder mystery but unlike any other. It follows Aiden Bishop as he finds himself in the most peculiar situation: he wakes up each day in the body of a different house guest. He’ll be stuck in this time loop forever until he solves the mystery of who murders Evelyn Hardcastle.
We read the story in the first-person present perspective of Aiden Bishop so we experience the story as it happens to Aiden. This is a great tactic to keep the suspense up. Sometimes with mysteries, the reader can tell where the story is going as the author purposely drops hints throughout the story. If you are a reader who likes to solve the mystery (like I do), just go ahead and shelve that idea for this read. There is so much creativity and just flat-out random developments that predicting this one will be a lost cause. Wondering what’s going to happen is a different story though.
Since this one takes a bit of a sci-fi turn with Aiden jumping into different bodies, an interesting component is that whichever “host” Aiden is in, he also experiences their memories and behavior. For instance, when he’s in the body of the banker Ravencourt, Aiden uses his intelligence to his advantage. But the opposite is true when he’s in the body of the deplorable Derby. Jumping from body to body provides plenty of comedy in an otherwise tense situation.
You’ll eventually find out why Aiden is there, who’s behind keeping him there and his real purpose. But we find that out when he does.
Cast of characters
There’s vivid details about the Blackheath estate and the odd family who lives there. It’s the 19th anniversary of their son’s death and they’ve invited the same people who were there that day for a party welcoming their daughter back from Paris. Or so it seems. We quickly learn that the odd cast of characters each have secrets of their own and much is not what it seems. The cast of characters are very vivid and unique. While there are many people to keep track of, the author does provide a handy chart at the beginning that is useful to keep up. Like I said, just go along with the ride.
I want to say more but I don’t want to spoil this for you!