The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
‘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.’
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. 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.
I was curious about the hype for this novel and the premise had me intrigued. Would I find it as enjoyable as everyone else or would it leave me feeling flat? I can safely say it is definitely worthy of the many excellent reviews.
Can I elaborate on the plot for you? No, as that would spoil it. And I may still be happily confused with some events and characters.
I paid a lot of attention to the first half of this novel, determined not to be confused by all the detail. By the time I was getting closer to the end I was reading a lot faster, not caring if could follow a final summary of the chronology of events in Aiden’s mind; I was enjoying it too much.
The final surprise ending (there’s more than one surprise!) did catch me out and while it appeared rather close to the end and maybe (to some readers) came out of nowhere, I enjoyed it and found it fitting for such a story.
I only have two minor gripes about this novel.
Firstly, I read it on Kindle which made it harder to flick back to the list of characters. I know there are ways to do this but I am always worried it will take me a long time to find my place again!
Secondly, a few times after I put the book down I did wish the writing was more in the style of a gothic or sensation novel rather than being so contemporary. However, when I was reading the story I was enjoying it so much this didn’t bother me.
Overall – yes, it does live up to the hype and I think I will enjoy reading more from the Raven Books imprint, particularly as they also have the wonderful Eva Dolan’s latest novel and The Silent Companions, another I want to read.