Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
January 8, 2019 4:00 AM - by Stuart Turton - Subscribe

A murder mystery which is much more mysterious than it first appears. A fantastical and twisty story where our hero tries to find out who killed (or will kill) Evelyn Hardcastle at a ghastly party at the extremely remote Blackheath House. Best read without any spoilers (including those right inside this post).

“So,” explains Stuart Turton with a deep breath. “It’s an Agatha Christie-style murder mystery, but set in a Groundhog Day loop, with a bit of Quantum Leap body-swapping thrown in. Our hero Aiden wakes up every day in the body of a different house guest… but it’s the same day, so he sees the same event from very different perspectives.”

Interview with the author.
posted by Stark (6 comments total)
 
I read this without any spoilers about the format (including all the ones above) and am happy I did, although I guess that all becomes pretty clear within a hundred pages or so. I was super excited about this book for the first two-thirds of it or so, but I think the author's ambition exceeded his skill a little and a few things about the ending were downright disappointing. Still I'm glad I read it and would recommend it to readers who like puzzly mysteries.

Note that in the US the title is The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (although I don't think the text features an extra half death!).
posted by dfan at 5:12 AM on January 8


I was excited to read this based on the positive review in The Guardian, but gave up at 10% because of the prose--it was like reading someone's game faq of a visual novel. I have a feeling that the author has spent far more time with Higurashi than Christie and I knew I'd be very annoyed if it all turns out to be The Sexy Brutale in the end. However, I kept seeing so much praise for it that I got it out of the library again... I may give it another chance. I do love country houses full of murders.
posted by betweenthebars at 10:41 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]


I really enjoyed this, although it was difficult to keep track of things at times. I loved the concept and particularly appreciated the character differences - how the hosts affected the way in which Aiden thought / moved / behaved.

I got into the 'what happens next' plot quite quickly, as there are small mysteries being created and resolved throughout - it's definitely a page-turner for me. The things that slowed me down at times was some of the characters and mood - the author said that he wanted all of the upper-class characters to be unpleasant to be around, and the darkness and grim tone is pervasive.

I did also like the general theme of redemption and becoming a better person, which sat nicely on top of the general murder-mystery plot and gave it a bit more depth.
posted by Stark at 2:05 AM on January 9


Really hard to distinguish this from The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo based just on title.
posted by all about eevee at 10:58 AM on January 10


I think that's the reason for the name change in the US version to the 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle!
posted by Stark at 2:41 AM on January 11


I mean, arguably the title is a partial spoiler to the end, now that I think about it. But I think it's almost something of a play on the first fifteen lives of Harry August by Claire North. But Claire North explores people with weird abilities... this is much more about the circumstances then an innate ability.

I enjoyed it. It reminds I wonder if it will get a sequel, or a prequel.
posted by gryftir at 8:09 PM on January 15


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