Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that’s an Agatha Christie mystery in a Groundhog Day Loop, with a bit of Quantum Leap to it.
How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?
The Hardcastle family is hosting a masquerade at their home, and their daughter Evelyn Hardcastle will die. She will die everyday until Aiden Bishop is able to identify her killer and break the cycle.
But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up each day in a different body as one of the guests.
Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend. But nothing and no one are quite what they seem.
Aiden narrates Seven (and a half) Deaths. It begins with him waking up in a wood believing he has seen a murder, he makes it to a large house only to find that he is Dr Simon Bell and so begins this well written and well-crafted story.
Aiden finds out that he will wake up every day as another of the guests in this grand, but shabby home of the Hardcastle family and the only way to get back to being himself away from this house is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder.
We go with him and as the story unfolds we meet the different house guests and pieces of the puzzle slowly emerge. It is well written, gripping and layered as we learn what happened from one point of view we also see how the other protagonists are viewed by each other. Some of the ‘guests’ that Aiden inhabits aren’t what he thinks and other guests aren’t quite what they seem. Will he solve the murder? Will he escape, indeed will he escape alive?
Aiden is also wondering why him? And it is this storyline, for me, that brings a lovely, subtle sub story with a conclusion that makes this an even more gratifying read.
With this book you get a murder mystery with a mind boggling plot to enjoy over and over again. It delivers many levels and delivers on many levels. This is a terrific book and well worth reading. I enjoyed it and would certainly recommend.
With thanks to SourceBooksLandmark, via NetGalley, for providing me with an eBook of The Seven and a half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. I have not received any payment in relation to my review.
Publisher: Raven Books (8 Feb. 2018) Bloomsbury
Hardcover: 528 pages Language: English
Stuart is the author of a high-concept crime novel and lives in London with his amazing wife, and drinks lots of tea.
When he left university he went travelling for three months and stayed away for five years. Every time his parents asked when he’d be back he told them next week, and meant it.
Stuart is not to be trusted. In the nicest possible way.
He’s got a degree in English and Philosophy, which makes him excellent at arguing and terrible at choosing degrees. Having trained for no particular career, he has dabbled in most of them. He stocked shelves in a Darwin bookshop, taught English in Shanghai, worked for a technology magazine in London, wrote travel articles in Dubai, and now he’s a freelance journalist. None of this was planned, he just kept getting lost on his way to other places.
He likes a chat. He likes books. He likes people who write books and people who read books. He doesn’t know how to write a biography, so should probably stop before we start talking about his dreams or something. It was lovely to meet you, though.
Stuart’s debut novel, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, will be published in 2018 by Bloomsbury.
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