The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

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Member Reviews

A mind-bending wonder somewhere between an episode of Black Mirror and a classic Poirot mystery. 4/5.

This book has a great premise and puts an original spin on the classic country house murder mystery. The layers in the story make it incredibly complex and I take my hat off to the author. I can’t imagine the diagrams necessary to keep track of where all the characters are supposed to be at various times as the narrator body-hops between different “hosts”, bumping into friends and enemies along the way. In addition to the murder mystery we have the mystery of Aiden himself: who is he and why is he being forced to relive the same day, searching desperately for Evelyn Hardcastle’s killer?

At even its most superficial level, this is an entertaining mystery which forces you to pay attention at all times, meaning it never gets dull. However, the book’s most impressive strength – its complexity – may also be something which turns readers off. I didn’t find this a “fun” read. It’s not relaxing in any way and the characters are intriguing rather than likeable. Currently I’m rather sleep-deprived and I’m not sure enough of my little grey cells are firing to get the most out of this book at the moment. If you don’t want to read for a mental work-out and think the many jumps in the narrative might lose you, I’m not sure I’d recommend this book.

It’s the sort of story you’d love to have time to go back and read again once you know the solution to the mystery and who all the people the narrator has embodied during the day are. I can only imagine an agent somewhere is already trying to get this under Christopher Nolan’s nose as he’s the only director I think could pull off a movie adaptation.

I enjoyed the murder mystery side of the story more than the moral philosophy element (attempting to answer the question of whether people can ever really change), and I thought the ending was a little too neat, but I’m still bowled over by the staggeringly impressive structure. If I think about it all too much, I think I’ll get a headache!

Overall: classic murder mystery fans who think they’ve seen it all should give The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle a try. Just don’t pick this as a relaxing read – you’ll need your wits about you to keep up.
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I loved this book, and my goodness it does set your mind whirring. 
If this book were a song, what song would it be? Undoubtedly it would have to be Windmills of your Mind because the lyrics describe this book perfectly.
Round
Like a circle in a spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning
On an ever spinning reel
This book is like a traditional Agatha Christie grand house murder mystery on acid and it is brilliant.
Aiden Bishop is our protagonist, condemned to repeat the same day over and over until he can present the solution to the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle. Not only must he repeat the same day, but he does so in a time hopping fashion, moving in and out of the bodies of eight hosts, taking on their physical characteristics and knowing what they know, all the while battling to keep his own sanity and identity, though in truth, who Aiden Bishop is becomes the last mystery to be solved.
He has no idea who to trust; no concept of who to believe in (if anyone) and he has to find a way to deal with the shady characters to seem to be shaping this mystery journey.
This is a highly original and inventive book with a puzzle centre that would defy the most assiduous jigsaw player. The clues are all there in each character, but the body jumping and time hopping adds an extra layer of complexity.
Brilliantly plotted and with fantastic characterisation, this book will sweep you up and carry you along as it explores the mystery of what happens to Evelyn Hardcastle and why. Nothing is obvious; clues are dropped like breadcrumbs and just when Bishop thinks he is getting somewhere, his character will slip into another body.
Blackheath, the house where all the action takes place is a rotting, crumbling mansion where some effort has been made to restore a long since faded grandeur. All the guests are as you might expect, some shady, some disreputable, but all hiding their own secrets, as are some of the servants.
In a masterclass of plotting finesse, Turton cleverly weaves all these strands together, gradually revealing each secret until finally the breadcrumbs join together to make a summer pudding.
Though complex and layered, this is a fabulous and highly engrossing book that is so well written you  delight when Bishop manages to make something significant happen and just wish you had thought of the idea.
Because the characterisation is so rich and nuanced, you never lose track of what’s happening, though I think it would be great fun to go back and do a map of the house and track all the events and characters to see just how well plotted it is on paper.( I’m pretty sure the answer is awesomely).
I thought the ending was slightly rushed, but that’s saying something for a book that takes a lot of reading.
Overall, I am full of praise for a massively creative, inventive and enjoyable novel. Just incredible that this is a debut.
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This was a great, quirky novel that I really enjoyed. I liked the mystery of it and the creepiness of the characters, as well as piecing together the story at the same pace as the narrator. Some parts were a little confusing but that may have been due to my e-copy being slightly jumbled in places.
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This is one of those books where it is hard to describe it without giving too much away. Evelyn Hardcastle is killed on the night of a party at her parents house, Blackheath. The murder must be solved by  11pm.

This is one of those books which is unusual & the author really does deserve plaudits for coming up with a book that is definitely well outside the box. I can't describe how unusual it is without giving too much away. Suffice to say that it is an unusual book and any lover of thrillers and mysteries should give it a go.

The book is well written and  the characters are clearly defined and well constructed. They certainly have their own personalities.

There are plenty of twists in this book and you will need to keep your wits about you as you read. You may even wish to have pen and paper at the ready if you are the sort of person who likes to personally solve the mysteries before the characters. It is complicated.

There were a couple of patches where I started to get a bit bogged down. Nobody was who they seemed to be and everyone had ulterior motives. I started to loose my enthusiasm. However, I did carry on and was very glad that I had. I liked the explanation as to what was happening in Blackheath. As for the solution as to who killed Evelyn Hardcastle - one twist too many? Perhaps.

I am glad that I read this book as it certainly exercised the old brain cells. It was well written and unusual. I have, on occasion, read books which are unusual and have great ideas but the writing failed to live up to its promise. On the whole this book delivered on that & the author was able to write a book which more or less lived up to its potential.

I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley.
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God, this is such a it's not you, it's me book for me & no one is more disappointed than me... Have you read the synopsis? A groundhog day kinda plot with extra paranormal elements AND a murder mystery! I was so excited for this one!!

And yet, I barely got through 1/4 of the book & not even the promise of getting some answers at the end is enough to make me finish it. The writing just killed it for me. Now, like I said, I'm sure there will be countless readers who won't find this a flaw at all. But. We get a first person point of view here and on top of that - present tense. That's a combo I can personally only deal with in the very best fics. This is not one of those. It's not even very best. It's mediocre and boring and the writing choices did nothing to help it. It's so very, very clear from like the first page, that this book is written by a guy & that the main character is a guy & its only saving grace is that the words "well, actually" aren't in the text anywhere. (Yet.)

I wanted to love The Seven Death of Evelyn Hardcastle so much but I just don't have the patience for it...
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
“A brilliantly original high concept murder mystery from a fantastic new talent: Gosford Park meets Inception, by way of Agatha Christie
‘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 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…”
I can’t even imagine how difficult it must have been to plan out the plot of something like this, orchestrating the interactions between such a huge cast or characters when their actions are repeating, and some of them are the same man in different bodies. Bravo to Turton for writing such an intricate story. Unfortunately, while I loved the mystery and premise of this book, the execution didn’t meet my expectations. I found myself rereading sections as it was quite confusing. Aiden, our MC, woke up in different hosts and this alongside the time hopping aspects felt a bit overwhelming.
As the plot develops and we meet more of the characters, (some of which had very similar names so was difficult to keep track of) the mystery seems to get harder to solve. I would be surprised if anyone worked out what actually happened, which is great.
The ending was a bit crap. The while book is full of twists, turns and a lot of action but the ending, everything is wrapped up so neatly and is just unrealistic. After the revelation of who Anna really was, I  don’t understand how Aidan could forgive her so easily. Their whole relationship just annoyed me.
Overall, I gave this book a 3/5* rating. I’d recommend this book if you have the time to spend getting your head around it all.
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Oh i really struggled with this. 

On one hand brilliantly inventive, high concept, ambitious, complex, ground breaking murder mystery. 

And on the other just too much for me. 100 pages in and I was exhausted and it has been a real labour of love to finish. 

I’ll settle for a simpler crime mystery without the added complexity of both time travel and body swapping. 

Can absolutely see the appeal, just wasn’t for me.
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The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a gripping and intense novel. It demands your full attention as there is a lot of information to take in and quite a few people to remember (there is a list of the characters at the start so you can keep track). It is not a book you can pick up, read a few pages and put down again, but it is so worth it.

It opens with a bang and then the storyline slows down as nothing much happens apart from Aiden trying to work out who he is. It takes a while for it to get into the actual plot regarding the murder of Evelyn, but once it does, this is where the story picks up tenfold, and the part where I became glued to the pages.

It is in essence an old fashioned ‘who-done-it’, but written in a modern way, whilst the plot is definitely not set in the modern day. It is a mixture of genres, all rolled into one, Crime, Sci-fi, Drama, Action, Adventure, Mystery, Psychological, Thriller, and of course a Detective novel, without a trained detective. A complete mix that works seamlessly together.

It is filled to the brim with red herrings, twist and turns, and a plot that you are never sure where Mr. Turton is going to take you. This is a puzzle that you will be eager to solve, so make yourself comfy this is going to be one hell of a journey!
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I absolutely loved this book - it took a few chapters to really settle into the conceit of body switching but once it did I couldn't put it down. Some of the female characters felt a little thin, but upon reaching the end the reasons why became obvious. Although the plot was very complicated (I can only imagine what it must have been to plan) I never felt lost or totally confused (or at least, not considerably) and kept hold of the plot strings right until the end.
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This is a mastercraft in historical fiction, unlike anything I've read since Agatha Christie. 

Evelyn is going to be killed. Again. Every night her murder goes unsolved, the gala party where she dies restarts and Andrew is always too late to save her. 

The writing is hugely atmospheric, and sets the scene perfectly. The descriptions are rich and detailed. It's almost like stepping back in time and being with these characters, living (and dying) amongst them. The plot is also quite unique in that the story is told over and over with Andrew taking the role of a different character every night with small hints and clues drip fed throughout, almost like a historical 'Groundhog Day' meets 'Cluedo'. However, the plot can never be taken at face value, as nothing is really as it seems and characters constantly surprised me. 

It's not an easy read by any stretch of the imagination - there's twist and mysteries that left me completely baffled and had me desperate to understand what was going on, but that's what makes this such a compelling read. You really want to know what happens, as you try to draw conclusions before Andrew. I was especially drawn to Evelyn, and as her story unravels I felt a need to know who killed her. 

That said, at times I felt a disconnection with some of the other characters as I was mainly so invested in Andrew and Evelyn, and sometimes it took a while for me to get my head round Andrew as a new person with different mannerisms every night. 

Still, I thought this was like a fresh of breath air for the mystery genre. Different and exciting.
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I have never read a book like this before .A mystery , murders, body swapping and time travel all thrown into the mix .I did find the story very long and confusing in places .The story is set in a country house very Agatha Christie !! with a wide range of characters that you are never sure what is real and what isn't .There are time leaps backwards and forwards and deaths galore .Nothing is as it seems .I was a little disappointed at the ending for such a clever book I found the ending a bit of a let down .
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The Death of Evelyn Hardcastle is an extraordinarily clever, tense and original novel. Intelligently woven with intricate plots, I very nearly read this in one sitting. With all the tropes of a perfect golden age novel - a manor house, a ball and a number of suspect characters who may well have committed the murder - but with multi-layered time loops and a loose grip on reality,

As our hero Aidan Bishop attempts to navigate this surreal world and solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle, he is displaced into eight different bodies, each with their own agendas, histories and personalities which disrupt and enhance his search.

A masterclass on perspective, Stuart Turton has created a superbly crafted and highly imaginative novel that defies categorisation, so much so that I can hardly believe it is a debut novel.

Required reading for anyone who loves to guess whodunnit (I bet you won't), I can only describe this as Agatha Christie meets Inception or, as one Twitter user put it, 'playing Cluedo after dropping acid'.

I don't think I'll quite read another novel like it, and I will certainly looking forward to seeing what the Stuart Turton.
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M. Sturton is a madman and a genius. Because it was a very complex concept and he nailed it, which makes The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle my first favourite book of 2018. 

I’m hard to please when it comes to murder mysteries because I need a fresh angle to be interested. That's why I read few of them, and that's why Seven Deaths, with its unique premise, intrigued me so much, and I was really looking forward to reading it.

I’m very impressed. This particular mix was highly volatile yet Stuart Turton avoids every mistake he could have made and what I first thought was a bold experiment turns out to be a masterpiece. I can't even believe this is a debut novel. So Aiden Bishop has to figure out who murdered Evelyn Hardcastle. BUT the trick is: he’s not the only one trying. Two other people are stuck in the same loop and only the first one to find out the truth will be set free. Aiden has to investigate, but also to escape a bloodthirsty rival who’s trying to secure his own victory by killing each and every one of Aiden’s hosts. Think Cluedo with a time limit, a killer after you and you get new cards at every turn. Sounds fun, right?

To escape the time loop, Aiden has eight hosts and needs to survive long enough to discover who murders Evelyn and bring the answer, with proof, to the mysterious Plague Doctor, puppeteer of this play where nothing is what it seems. So every day, Aiden wakes up as a different person, which grants him a fresh perspective thanks to his hosts’ different skills. Lucky for him (and for us because it would get old really soon), his memory loop works on an eight-day basis and doesn’t reset every morning. This is perfect for a murder mystery because “every day”, Aiden gathers more information by reliving it from a new angle and slowly pieces back together the whole story. The downside for him is the further he goes into the week, the blurrier the line between his own personality and his host’s, which can make the host a liability at times when Aiden really doesn't have the luxury to have one.

However I think some people will end up very confused. It is a bit tough to follow, I guess, because some things happening on the first day come from actions that Aiden will do later. I really enjoyed it because this is how I like my time travel. Events being explained later by future actions are something I love, because it gives me the feeling of watching a huge 3-D puzzle coming together. It’s fascinating to watch it being built but you need to know how to look at it. Don't hesitate to draw a timeline if needed.

As for the characters, we get to know them through Aiden’s different sets of eyes. I have a soft spot for Lucy, the maid, and I think Cunningham really lives up to his name. He’s resourceful and he’s got spunk, I like it. I thought it was extremely interesting to watch the characters showing different sides of themselves depending on which one of Aiden's hosts they were interacting with. I also think Aiden’s hosts are full of surprises, two in particular I thought might be useless but turned out to have their own part to play. I was surprised of how easily I could tell Aiden apart from his hosts. It’s very delicate work and I’m in awe because it was a very thin line to walk.

The eight-day time limit and the Footman’s attacks, always unexpected, add a sense of urgency. The Footman scared the hell out of me and I still feel uncomfortable at night, sometimes, picturing him lurking around in the shadows. He's a great villain, smart and spooky. As for the mystery itself, I really appreciate the fact that even if Aiden was always a few steps in front of me, I was never lost on the way. I never once thought “it’s too complicated, I don’t care anymore, I’ll just see what happens”. I got really into it, I followed each twist and turn, changing theories every time the rug was pulled under my feet (and boy did that happen a lot!) and having a real blast until the very end. This is EXACTLY what I was hoping for, and more. 

It was bold, suspenseful, gripping, witty, 5 well deserved stars. Blackheath will sink its claws into you and won’t let go. Be ready for the ride of your life. 

I would also like to point out that it would make a great BBC mini-series. Just sayin’.

Thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc for sending me this beauty in exchange for an honest review. And thanks to M. Turton for writing said beauty. You rock. And I’m totally buying a final copy.
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Groundhog Day Meets Agatha Christie was all I needed to hear to be completely positively intrigued by this book. I had an absolute blast reading this and trying (and failing) to figure things out. Aiden Bishop wakes up in a body that is not his with no memory at all. He learns that he will wake up on this same day 8 times in 8 different hosts to solve a murder that will occur in the evening. We follow him chronologically (from his perspective), but everything is always happening at once. There are two others trying to solve the same murder and he will have to figure out who is on his side and who isn't. This is such a staggeringly brilliant premise that is then executed stunningly.

Stuart Turton juggles many moving parts in a way that makes it relatively easy for the reader to follow along. He has all his moving pieces coming together beautifully and effortlessly and I think this is the biggest strength of this very strong book: this could have been a confusing mess but never was. The different versions of Aiden Bishop feel distinct enough to be complete characters while there is also a piece of him that is always recognizable. I adored the ruminations on identity and responsiblity, with a strong emphasis on action rather than personality. 

Aiden Bishop has an incredible disdain for his hosts, who to be fair are mostly unpleasant, but I sometimes found his descriptions unnecessarily cruel, especially regarding one of his host's overweight body. He went into detailed description of why this body was disgusting and this just did not sit well with me - especially when juxtaposed with his descriptions of another of his hosts (who is a rapist) who he also hates but not that viscerally. It makes sense from an in-book-perspective (his hosts' personalities influence his reactions and the rapist sees nothing wrong with his behaviour) but still did not work for me. But this was a slight issue I had in the grand scheme of this highly enjoyable book.

I found this extremely clever, very well-written, and exceptionally well-plotted. I cannot wait to hold a finished copy in my hands to reread parts of this to find the hidden clues that I might have missed in my rush to finish this and to know. I cannot wait what Stuart Turton writes next.
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I thought the premise of this book sounded really interesting but didn’t connect the characters or storyline. I feel it may be a case of this book was not for me as there are a number of good reviews for it.
I struggled to 15% and then I found myself starting to skim, therefore I have decided to put it aside as a DNF
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Do you like murder mysteries? Time travel?? Body swapping? Black Mirror?? Then this is the book for you, my friends. 

I'm not usually the biggest fan of mystery novels - aside from Sherlock Holmes, I haven't read that many. So, about halfway through this book, I was thinking that although the content and the writing of this novel deserves more like 4 stars, I would probably be rating it 3, due to my personal preferences. 

HOWEVER, Stuart Turton changed my mind. 

This is a really weird book, with A LOT of content. We begin as an unnamed man (later named Aiden) inhabiting the body of a guest attending a gala at Blackheath Manor. He is given the task of solving the murder (which looks to everybody like a suicide) of Evelyn Hardcastle, the lady of the house. To help him solve this murder, he will have 8 days in 8 separate hosts, all of whom are guests at the gala, with their own personalities, relationships, and abilities which may help or hinder our hero. 

There's also a mysterious woman named Anna, who looks to be in the same boat as Aiden and who seems to help him during his investigation, and a creepy footman, who is intent on murdering all of Aiden's hosts before he can solve the crime. PLUS, there's a fellow in a creepy plague doctor outfit who turns up every now and then to give Aiden some vague hints and clues. 

So, there's a lot going on. Not only is there a murder to solve, but we also don't know who Aiden is, why he's solving this murder, and who else might be serving to help him or impede him (in occasionally violent ways). 

It does take some work to stay with it - at one point I felt like I was drowning in different characters and mysteries- but it is SO WORTH IT. By the 60% mark I was absolutely hooked, and was kept up far past my bedtime finishing this bizarre, intricate novel.

Turton's writing is really, really good. It boggles my mind to think about how long this must have taken him to plot out - I can barely hold everything in my head as a reader, never mind as an author. His plotting is incredibly well thought out, and the ending wraps everything up very well without any plot holes that I can see. This is really a huge achievement, since as I said, there is SO MUCH going on ALL THE TIME. 

Aiden's hosts are all clearly separate people with their own personalities, and Turton manages to blend them with Aiden in believable ways. He also has some really lovely turns of phrases:

"Nothing like a mask to reveal somebody's true nature."

"Storm clouds of embarrassment drift across his grey face."

"Age is coiling around me, its fangs in my neck, drawing my strength when I need it most."

"My mind is a stuffed trunk that needs unpacking."

"This time the past will hold her hand and squeeze."

So not only is the mystery very well concocted, but the writing is also really good. 

I honestly cannot recommend this enough for lovers of mysteries and crime thrillers. The pleasure of unpacking this massive mystery even pulled me, a non-mystery lover, very firmly into the story. Stick with the relatively slow and very confusing first half, because the second half moves so fast and gets so intense that I was really, really pleased I'd forced my brain into keeping up. Plus, the ending is so mind boggling that now I want a sequel (please).
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A rich, sensuous, and well handled novel, and one which I will definitely be recommending.
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Stuart Turton has written an extraordinarily original, atmospheric, intelligent and fiendishly complex novel that I really loved! At one level it masquerades as an Agatha Christie style golden age classic crime, and indeed many of the tropes present in that genre are here such as the diverse range of characters at a country house party. It is no exaggeration to say it is so much more, including the presence of time leaps, and absolutely nothing is as it seems. Prior to the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle, there was another death 19 years ago where justice was not fully served. Aiden Bishop is a guest at the party where Evelyn is murdered, he is trapped in a nightmarish Groundhog Day, destined to relive that day until he solves the crime and identifies the murderer. Each day he takes on the body of a different character at the party, with all the consequent complications that ensue, such as the differing friend circles and enemies.

Turton gives us a heavily detailed, inventive and ambitious story with beautiful, and lyrical prose. Whilst I found it compulsive reading, it is not a book for everyone, I can see many finding it frustrating. The author is to be congratulated for penning a tale, which whilst occasionally exasperating, allows the reader to exercise their little grey cells! This is a book for those who enjoy being taken out of their comfort zone, enjoy intriguing puzzles and have a penchant for the curious and the strange. A brilliant and twisted read that is never less than enthralling. Many thanks to Bloomsbury for an ARC.
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The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is Stuart Turton’s debut novel, and it’s been gathering a lot of attention online in the build-up to its February release. I decided to pick up a copy for review on the back of this good press, and because I’m a sucker for a good murder mystery (especially when it has a fantastical twist).

That fantastical twist is that until our protagonist Aiden Bishop solves the murder of the titular Evelyn Hardcastle, the day repeats itself and Aiden wakes up every morning in the body of a different guest – with a “ticking clock” deadline and an antagonist or two driving the tension. It’s an intriguing time travel premise, and one that’s handled well by Turton – it’s no easy feat to juggle what amounts to eight timelines, using as many “hosts” for the protagonist, while outlining the investigation into Evelyn’s murder and another murder that happened 19 years previous. I do think the narrative becomes confusing at times – unavoidably so – but Turton manages to keep this confusion to a minimum through the use of engaging description, deft characterisation, and a tight, well-considered plot.

And that brings me to my next point: the writing is excellent. Turton has an economical but evocative turn of phrase, and some of his descriptions really make characters and their interactions leap off the page. It was a joy to chart Aiden’s character development over the course of the narrative, especially as he struggles to define himself both in relation to and in opposition of Blackheath and his task there.

Blackheath is a great setting, too. It’s constructed piece by piece as the novel progresses, slowly developing into a character all its own. There’s a sinister, hungry quality to Blackheath which lurks within its mundane, neglected walls – just as with the guests, nothing is quite as it seems and behind every mask lies a den of secrets.

This novel scratched that particular murder mystery itch of mine perfectly – familiar and yet wholly new at the same time. Plus I raced through the final fifth in one sitting, desperate to unravel everything before putting it down.

I was all set for giving The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle a solid five stars, however I’ve stewed over the novel for a few days now and there’s just one thing that drops it just below that rating. For me, the revelations given about Blackheath, Aiden’s task, and the “mechanics” of this world Turton has built did seem incongruous with the rest of the novel. These answers hint at a wider world and put Blackheath in a limited context – which some readers will be thrilled by – but I would have preferred the nature of Blackheath to be left more ambiguous… it’s a personal preference that doesn’t even come close to ruining the novel for me, but is nevertheless worth mentioning.

Overall though, this an incredibly enjoyable novel which keeps you guessing until the very end. I loved the incorporation of time travel into a “traditional” murder mystery and Turton’s writing style is nothing short of enthralling. If this is what he can do right off the bat, then I’m even more excited for what he’ll write next.
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Ooh I liked this immensely! I'm generally in favour of long reviews, but in this case, the less you know the better. In fact, I started the book having completely forgotten anything from the blurb which made it all the more gripping. 

All I will leave you with is that this is an exciting debut novel with twists and turns galore, and I could not put it down. Think Cluedo meets Groundhog Day set in Downton Abbey. Make sense? No? Better read it then ;)
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