The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 22 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

This book is action packed and incredibly fast paced, but I just couldn't get into it. You spend a lot of the time not really sure what's going on or when this book is taking place and it was hard for me to find the motivation to read it. I'm sure it's trying to be the next Agatha Christie, but it didn't quite hit the mark there.
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The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is one of the most unique and mind-boggling mystery novels I've ever read. A man wakes up in the middle of a forest with no recollection of who he is, or how he got there. He only has a hint of a name on the tip of his tongue, and that's Anna.

It's hard to explain the premise of this novel is a succinct and linear way. Because this book is in no way linear. In any fashion. A dozen or so guests are visiting Blackheath manor for a celebration — a celebration of the anniversary of the murder of the Hardcastle family's eldest son. As fireworks are set off that the end of the night, the young daughter of the family is killed, but it doesn't appear to be a murder, so the murderer is never caught.

Day after day, Evelyn Hardcastle dies at the end of the night and the day repeats itself until Aiden, the man that woke up with no memories in the middle of the forest, solves the mystery of who killed Evelyn. Aiden wakes up each day in the body of a different guest — he has eight hosts, and eight full days to solve the mystery, otherwise the cycle begins again and he cannot leave Blackheath.

"Somebody's going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won't appear to be a murder and so the murderer won't be caught. Rectify that injustice and I'll show you the way out."

It's hard to summarise how crazy the plot for Seven Deaths truly is. Turton has intricately plotted each and every page, chapter and twist — making it hard to fault any part of this book. I was kept on my toes the whole way through, and while I tried my best to guess the ending, I definitely did not even get close to how it unfolded.

I am a sucker for character development, and Turton gave this to the reader in spades. While we follow one character throughout the novel — Aiden — it's hard to surmise who Aiden really is as a person, because his true personality is not revealed while he's staying in Blackheath. What the readers get instead, is Aiden in eight different hosts, each with their own unique quirks and personalities, all which play a role in aiding him in solving the mystery of Evelyn's death.

Turton is a true genius in having come up with such a farfetched plot. Yet everything just worked, with each word and clue placed throughout in very thoughtful ways. While the ending was not what I expected (and I can't say I loved how it ended), I appreciated the time and dedication it took to pull off such an intricately plotted book. I would definitely pick up Seven Deaths again. If you're a lover of mysteries that keep you on your toes, definitely give this one a go.

Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia and Netgalley for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I was so excited by the concept of this book, but I was concerned that it would lean too far into the scifi/ timetravel element, and I was very glad to be wrong. This book is a really smart twist on a Golden Age crime novel, think Agatha Christie as an interactive game. Our protagonist has no memory, but he has a murder to solve by 11pm. However, he gets more than one attempt, as the Plague Doctor has rigged the game in his favour. He gets to re-live the day over and over, possessing the bodies of the party attendees. But every action has consequences, and every tiny detail becomes significant as you and he move through the plot. I found myself saying 'wait... what?' out loud many times, when a clue turned the whole narrative on it's head once again. The internal rules are well thought out, the characters are often ones you love to hate, and the setting is well crafted. The Plague Doctor is so intriguing, and a little uncanny, and I could picture him so clearly. I would LOVE to see him appear in a different but equally clever mystery.

Overall, this book is a very fun take on old tropes and conventions, and I guarantee it will keep you guessing till the last page.
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I received a advanced copy from Netgalley for an honest review.

⭐️ Writing style - some intelligent and interesting phrases and descriptive passages.
⭐️ Premise - what an amazing concept, who wouldn't want to read it.
⭐️ Debut - an extremely solid debut that will, unfortunately, polarise readers.

First, I tried to read this book, but I was getting very confused and found the pace quiet slow. So then I decided to listen to the audiobook. I honestly can't say I enjoyed this book. Is it just too clever?

Starting with an excellent premise, it asks the reader to dispense with all beliefs of place and time and to just follow the journey of our main character as he navigates the same day in 8 different characters in order to solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle.

However, I found the plot to stray too much from this initial premise and there were too many characters and plot points to negotiate. Also, and this doesn't happen often, but I didn't really care about any of the characters.

So I finished the book in respect and I admire the author's effort and I am so glad he us getting 5 star reviews, but it's only 2.5 stars from me (I've rounded it up to 3).
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You should probably buy this book. Definitely Agatha meets Groundhog Day. Despite making my head explode several times - I really liked it. You probably will too. Clever, clever, clever
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Now this is a novel I was so excited to read, having seen a lot of great reviews and marketing for it all over the place. It's actually quite a difficult review to write, because on the one hand I can fully appreciate the amazing skill that author Stuart Turton took to write such a complex plot based on a unique great concept, with a whole array of interesting characters and incidents, but on the other hand, in all honesty, it did sometimes feel like too many characters, too many plot devices, and a few too many pages as well.

I don't want this review to seem overly negative, because I don't feel that way about the book. The concept is just brilliant and the characters are all interesting in their own ways, with their own agendas and quirks. I felt like I was reading an Agatha Christie novel with a fresh twist, and I loved this style of writing, as well as some of the quite comedic moments which made me smile.

Ultimately this novel made me want to know who had killed Evelyn, and how Aiden can possibly escape this eerie world he has become trapped in. I therefore kept on reading, even when I started to feel myself a bit confused about parts of the 'game' Aiden seems to be kept in, and therefore the plot itself. I hoped things would become clearer but to me they didn't - however I found I could ignore elements I didn't quite get and just keep focussing on the actions Aiden needed to take to try and work everything out, which isn't ideal I suppose, but it kept me reading on!

The ending was satisfying and tied up a few loose ends (though there was still parts I didn't completely get). The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is an enjoyable read - just a confusing one, and it has obviously been very meticulously planned out and constructed. I think perhaps my brain just couldn't keep up with  the extensive cast of characters and their relationships with one another and with the ever-shape-shifting protagonist himself. With all the discussion around this book it's definitely one to read - and it's definitely something different, too!
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Groundhog Day meets Agatha Christie meets Quantum Leap in this tightly plotted debut novel. A man wakes up in the forest with no memory of who he is, or how he got there. He soon finds out that he needs to solve a murder, and will keep reliving the day over and over again until he does so. Very clever, highly original and a real page turner to boot, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle deserves to rocket up the bestseller charts.
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This is a very intriguing book. It has a great premise, and I honestly think that it is best to go in knowing as little as possible about it. 

I would have to agree with the reviews that state that this is a combination of an Agatha Christie book and Groundhog Day. Elements of both are present in the story. 

I was one of those that went pretty blindly into this story, not knowing exactly what to expect, but I quickly figured out what the general idea was. As to the details, I am still somewhat foggy on some of those, but that makes me excited for a future reread. 

At the beginning of the book we meet Aiden, who is for some unknown reason tasked with finding out who Evelyn Hardcastle's murderer is. Not an easy thing to do under the best of circumstances, but his situation is a bit more complicated as one would at first assume. He is in fact, not there as himself, but he inhabits hosts and as he jumps from one to the other he is trying to piece together the big picture. Aiden has to learn how to navigate things, and of course not all hosts are made equal. 
To make things even harder, he realises that other people are also involved in the search, and he is not sure if they are there to help him or inhibit him. 

The deeper I went into this story, the more it pulled me in. There is a lot of information given and I am glad that at least Aiden was able to make sense of most of it, because some things still baffle me. The amount of detail that went into this book is astounding and one has to admire Turton for doing such a wonderful job. I cannot wait for his next book. 

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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A unique spin on a typical murder mystery. Recommended it to everyone I know. The writing was descriptive but not purple and the storyline was conceptually brilliant. Must not miss.
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Fascinating plot idea and great denouement. The narrative moves a little slowly at times, but how carefully this has been constructed. Would make a great film! This is a book I will definitely remember.
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This is a murder mystery story with a difference. Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered tonight unless it can be prevented by Aiden. The problem is Aiden is in the body of another guest and must try to solve the mystery or the day will start over again with him inside another host.
He does not remember everything he has discovered on the previous day nor does he know who he can trust. The mysterious Plague Doctor appears to be helping him as does Anna but can he believe what they say? A footman appears to want to prevent him discovering the murderer and to kill him in the process. Aiden is determined to win and escape his predicament. I enjoyed the book but confess I was at times a little confused by a complicated storyline.
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Fun fact: Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was the first ARC that Netgalley ever granted me permission to read. So thank you to Netgalley for starting me off on my book-reviewing journey and frankly making my life. Over the past seven or so months it has been so difficult to see this book on my Kindle and on my Netgalley shelf and having to force myself to wait until it closer approached its publishing date to finally have the chance to read it.
But I have to say, unlike so many books before it, Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was well worth all that time and anticipation I forced myself to suffer through. I mean, oh, my god, this book was sheer perfection. It was everything that I wanted it to be and more - part-Cluedo, part-Groundhog Day with the glittering atmosphere of The Great Gatsby, this book combined everything that I have wanted into a single piece of literature.
The premise is what sold me - Aiden having only a set amount of days to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder, each of them being the same day, replayed over and over with the only difference being that Aiden switches from body to body, allowing him the opportunity to gather information by seeing different perspectives of the same events. 
Wow, just wow. 
I loved the amazingly-bad film, Happy Death Day, that was released early last year that followed a similar structure, only that was set in modern-day in university, and I think that I may have found my perfect genre. 
I mean, it’s a very specific subset of a genre, but one all the same.
It’s not a book that the reader can drift away off into their heads whilst consuming, but if you’re reading a book and that happens, surely it’s not very good? Pay attention, my loves, because the smallest clues may hold the biggest answers. And isn’t that the most fabulous thing about this genre? The way that the author weaves every single minute detail in a way that you do not realise that you have all of the answers until the very last moment. It takes a huge amount of subtly, skill and precision for this to be done well and holy shit, Stuart Turton absolutely nails it.
Have I found a new Ride or Die? You bet I have.
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Full review published at Booklover Book Reviews website:
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This was one heck of  a puzzle - a fine fine read. How on earth the author thought of this and managed to write it up so it made sense is beyond me. It’s the literary equivalent of a sudoku puzzle that you just can’t work out but this is a whole lot more fun trying to!

I have a headache now but it was totally worth it. It’s a genre unto its own. Mystery, sci fi, groundhog day, various POVs but in the mind of one person inhabiting several bodies....
Oh and then there’s the mystery of Evelyn herself who’s been murdered with her story from Paris...

There is something particularly chilling and mysterious about an old mansion house in the middle of nowhere and so remote you need an organised bus to take you there. You also need a notebook organiser of some sorts to keep track of things but read slowly take it in as the reward is worth it. The signposts are there if you spot them.  The mystery turns out to provide more puzzles than answers too as I was left wondering and pondering over a lot of what I’d just read.

I’ve never read anything like this. Going to read it again now to prove to myself I understood what I was supposed to. A very immersive read to read slowly and savour.
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The first thing that struck me was the very clever writing. Typically, when you are telling a story its either first or third person narrative, and usually the story focuses on one character or from that character's point of view. In this instance, we not only the first person narrative of one character, we have the additional narratives of multiple characters - yet all are, at various time, one and the same! And that is where this book is cleverly written.

Narrator Aiden Bishop awakens to find himself in the body of one of the guests at a private party. Sounds a bit like an episode of "Quantum Leap" - however, in this story, the scene is played over and over until the mystery of the death of Evelyn Hardcastle is solved (a bit like "Groundhog Day"), with Aiden waking each day in the body of yet another party guest.

It is through Aiden's eyes, when inhabiting the body of his hosts, that the story and clues to this mystery (a murder that is not a murder) are eventually put before us as each "host" sees the scenes being played out differently. But its not that simple afterall, "... how lost do you have to be to let the devil lead you home ...". And Aiden is led on a merry chase, and unseen hands manipulate the guests like a puppeteer but to what end and purpose.

What was intriguing is that we never really get a sense of time (ie: when is this story set), or how long the protagonists have dwelt in this time loop. What we do know is that an answer will release them, and as the tale progresses, " ... it is no longer simply about finding the right answer, its about holding onto it long enough to deliver it ..."
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What we have here is a fantastically twisted and incredibly complex murder mystery, kind of Agatha Christie meets Groundhog day with a touch of Cluedo. To say the story line is a work of genius is not an exaggeration.

A get-together at a rundown mansion for a celebration and to remember a terrible crime that took place 19 years earlier becomes a game of cat and mouse and a race against time to solve and maybe prevent a murder. It is difficult to write anything new in this review that hasn't been said before or that won't spoil the story.
My only criticism is that I felt the atmosphere suffered a little at times because of the extremely intricate plot and sometimes dense dialogue. That's just my opinion though and I still really enjoyed the book. 

Overall this is a wonderful, mind bending book.  Read it and be amazed.
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This was such a weird book! Brilliant, sure, but weeeeeird.

Aiden Bishop wakes up in a body that is not his, with no memories at all, with the exception of a name. He will wake up on the same day every day, Groundhog Day-style, but in 8 different hosts – and he has to solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle if he wants to escape that day and that place. But there are rules, and more than that, he is not the only one trying to solve the murder! He has to figure out what to do, how to do it and who can he trust. Also, each host has one day, and he can’t get himself killed or he can’t get back to that host. Basically, in this book, nothing is what it seems!

This was a really thrilling book, and what I loved most about it were the characters – hosts. They were so different from each other and that changed our main character too. It was really interesting to see him see the same day through, literally, different eyes. The hosts are really interesting persons, each with their own cons and pros. But I didn’t necessarily like some of the descriptions of them.

It’s quite dark, clever, and written in a very interesting and gripping way. I can’t get the idea of this book out of my head, I think it’s incredible and scary. And I can’t wait to read more from the author. This had so many characters, so many personalities, so many clues, mysteries, time lapses, body jumps, secrets, riddles, and questions. It’s incredible.

Overall the book was a really big surprise, full of mystery and murders and out of all the mysteries in the book, I could only discover one! Which is really awesome. Although it was quite a big one… And when it was finally unraveled, I kinda wanted to kill the main character for how dumb he was sometimes. But other than that, this was an extremely surprising and complex mystery that completely gripped until the very last pages.

It’s confusing at times because there’s a lot to piece together and everything comes in a weird order, so it’s a book that needs quite a lot of attention – as in the same attention you would need to read an Agatha Christie book, or is it just me? -, but it wraps up nicely and everything makes sense in the end, and I loved the end!

It’s a really interesting and unique concept and although it may not be for everyone, I would definitely recommend it if you like complex mysteries that really make you think!
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Okay, so how do I even review this book? The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was probably my most anticipated read this year. The moment I came across that blurb, I knew I needed to read this book. I'm a big fan of the whole Groundhog Day premise and I already talked about my love for Before I Fall on the blog. Happy Death Day was also one of my favorite films last year, so Seven Deaths was high on my list. And it was a murder mystery! What more could I ask for?

I admit it, as much as I ended up loving this book, my relationship with Seven Deaths didn't start off that well. I don't know if anyone else had the same issue with the Netgalley format, but my ebook file was a mess. Random 0s and 1s all over the pages, no capital letters, paragraph breaks that made no sense... it was hard to follow. And if you take into account that the actual plot isn't the easiest to understand, you can imagine my confusion. I almost gave up before I even reached 10%. But. The idea was awesome and it seemed like such a cool story, so didn't it deserve a bit of an effort? Yes. So I kept on reading...

At first, I remember thinking: what is this even about? For the first 20%, I had no idea where the story was going. I didn't understand anything, there were too many characters and the Agatha Christie character guide would've been useful if I had been reading the hardback or paperback version (no, of course my format didn't allow me to go back to the beginning!). And who the hell was Anna? Wasn't this book about Evelyn? Who are these creepy evil characters? But you know that moment when you realize you're actually enjoying a weird book? I knew I was beginning to like this novel... And for sure I wanted to know what was going on!

And the more I read, the more I loved it. I couldn't stop. No, I didn't understand half of what was going on, but I no longer cared. I loved how this book messed with my mind. It's my favorite feeling in the world. And I had to continue reading. It wasn't only about the high-concept plot and the promise of a mind-blowing puzzle. I also really liked the main character, Aiden Bishop, and I was rooting for him. I wanted him to escape Blackheath. But he was so stubborn! Oh, how he made me suffer...

I deeply admire Stuart Turton's work here. He has created such a complex and unique novel, I don't think I've ever read anything like Seven Deaths. I'm sure no book has ever made me feel like this one. It's not an easy read and it's definitely not for everyone, but I've never been happier that I decided to keep on reading. This was very different from all the other Groundhog Day stories I've read or watched. Stuart Turton took it one step further. And I'm glad.

By the time I reached the conclusion, I felt like I was watching an episode of Black Mirror. I had read that some people were disappointed with the ending, but I enjoyed the case resolution (so Agatha Christie!!!) and I really loved the world created by the author and the way he answered all the questions about Blackheath. 

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a truly original and mind-blowing novel that could easily become a cult classic.
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Well. I hardly know where to start or how to review this novel. It's complex, exciting and a little bit mind-blowing.

I also don't want to give anything away as to do so would spoil this book completely so I'm going to have to be quite careful here.

We first meet Aiden Bishop at Blackheath, a faded country house. I don't remember if the year is mentioned at all but I would say late 1920s/early 1930s. There's a ball going on with a number of guests who have been there before. The cast of characters is quite large and each one is unlikeable in various degrees and utterly crucial to the story. In fact, more than one of them may be hosting Aiden as he hops from body to body, living the same day over and over, in an attempt to work out who kills Evelyn Hardcastle, daughter of the house, at the ball.

I confess now, this is one of those books that I find absolutely fascinating, but that I don't wholly understand. The author must have spent ages plotting the whole thing and what I loved most of all about reading it were those moments of dawning realisation, those bits where Aiden set something up which made little sense, only for it to become clear why he did it when he's living the day again in another host. Just brilliant!

The setting is perfect and wouldn't really work as well in any other time period. These were the heady days of big country house parties, faded grandeur, the spectre of war still hanging over it all. This is a traditional crime novel in many ways, but then totally turned on its head, put in a bag and shaken up!

My one regret is that I read an e-copy of the book which made it a lot harder to skip back and try and put the clues together. But, despite this being a pretty big book at 528 pages, I raced through it. Just when I thought I was getting close to knowing who killed Evelyn, a curveball was thrown at me and there was another piece of the puzzle to slot into place. 

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is such a clever and cunning book. I can't imagine how the author ever managed to make it work but he certainly did. This is going to be a popular book (and possibly a Marmite one too). This reader was certainly thrilled by it.
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I can’t even begin to imagine how much time and effort must have gone into the writing of this novel! I’ve never read anything like it before and I hardly know how to begin to describe it. It has all the elements of a classic murder mystery – but there’s a clue in the title: the same murder happens not just once but seven times.

The novel opens with a man waking up in a forest with no memory of who he is or how he came to be there. He has the name ‘Anna’ in his mind, although he has no idea who Anna might be. Hearing a woman scream, he rushes to help but is stopped by a stranger who pushes a compass into his pocket and whispers ‘East’. Following these instructions, he finds his way out of the woods and into the grounds of nearby Blackheath House, where the situation becomes even more bizarre. He discovers that he is a doctor called Sebastian Bell and that he is a guest at Blackheath where the Hardcastle family are throwing a party to mark the nineteenth anniversary of their son’s death.

All through the long and bewildering day which follows, Bell tries to make sense of what is happening, only to end up more confused than ever. Eventually, he is approached by a man wearing the costume of a Plague Doctor, who appears to have some of the answers. It seems that the Hardcastles’ daughter, Evelyn, is going to be murdered later that night and Bell’s task is to solve the murder. Should he fail, he will have the chance to live through the day again…but this time he will be someone else. Eight days and eight different ‘host bodies’; if at the end of that time he can provide a solution, he will be allowed to leave Blackheath. If not, he will go back to day one and the whole sequence will begin again…as it already has, many times before.

Everything I’ve said so far is explained to our narrator early in the novel. Once he begins waking up as the other hosts, however, things quickly become very complicated, with new clues and pieces of information coming to light on almost every page. I won’t say any more about the story itself, then, other than in general terms. I won’t even tell you who the other hosts are, as part of the fun is in wondering who the narrator is going to be next. Each host, though, has different strengths and weaknesses and is connected to the murder in a different way. It’s fascinating to see how each of them alone sees only a small part of the picture, and the truth only begins to emerge when all of their collective experiences and observations are taken into account. 

This is an incredibly clever novel and so intricately plotted I have no idea how Stuart Turton managed to keep track of it all. Although it’s a long book, my recommendation is to read it in as few sittings as possible so you can try to hold on to all the threads of the story in your head. If your experience is anything like mine you’ll quickly become so engrossed that you won’t want to stop anyway. And experience is the right word for it. This doesn’t feel like a normal novel at all. It reminded me in some ways of one of those ‘choose your own adventure’ books I loved as a child where you could make choices that led to different routes through the story. That’s how I felt as the narrator lived through the same events again and again, trying to decide what he did wrong last time.

The novel is written in the first person present tense – a style I usually dislike but which is used very effectively here. It gives the reader a sense of being dropped directly into the middle of the action and sharing the narrator’s panic and disorientation. I don’t think it would have worked had it been written any other way. The writing is not completely flawless, though; maybe I’m just being too pedantic again but it irritates me to see phrases like ‘I am sat’ and ‘he is stood’ in print. This is only a small criticism, however – I thoroughly enjoyed this unusual and wonderfully imaginative novel.
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