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The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle - A Review

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton, is a unique and creative murder mystery.

Evelyn Hardcastle is going to die at 11 PM during a party at one of her family's estates, Blackheath. Aiden Bishop needs to solve her murder if he ever wants out of Blackheath. He is cursed to relive the same day over and over again. Every time he sleeps, he wakes up in the body of another party guest. As Harper's Bazaar put it, It's "Downton Abbey, a dash of Quantum Leap, and a liberal sprinkling of Groundhog Day." That's actually printed on the back of the paperback. When he has the answer he needs to deliver it to the Plague Doctor, an overseer or watcher of sorts.

It is unique and creative and a good story overall. However, it is a little difficult to keep everything straight. Aiden Bishop has eight hosts, a different one every day, but his previous host is still him, as this all happens on the same day. If he did something as the rotund yet cunning Ravencourt, then he will continue to do that thing, even when Aiden is in another host. Because, technically, Aiden Bishop is in all of the hosts at the same time.

Also, the ending was not very satisfactory. The more you read and learn about the reason for Blackheath and why Aiden and two other rivals are trapped there, questions start to stack on top of each other. Some of them are answered, but not all of them. I was a tad upset that my main question was never answered.

However, it is still a good story. It takes a murder mystery and adds some extra layers. It also keeps you guessing right till the very end. I'm usually pretty good at discovering the answer to a whodunit, but this one was surprising. I fell for every red herring and missed a lot of evidence I didn't realize was evidence.

The characters are interesting, and Mr. Turton's writing style is elegant and very creative and intelligent. It's not a casual cozy read, it takes energy to keep track of the timeline, but it's worth a read for anyone who likes mind-bending murder mysteries.

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