Monday, 30 April 2018

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
Published by Raven Books
February 2018

'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...

Now this is an interesting concept - billed as being of a similar genre to an Agatha Christie novel or of the film Gosford Park  I was instantly hooked and wanted to read The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle but actually this is only similar in that it is set in the 1920s and involves a murder. It is more of a sci-fi thriller set in the past and nothing that Agatha Christie would have dreamt up!

What I hadn't realised until I started the book is that the victim, Evelyn Hardcastle, is going to be murdered in exactly the same way until Aiden (our narrator) discovers 'whodunnit' and why.  The major twist in the tale is that he isn't solving the murder as himself because he is going to wake up each day in the body of 8 different guest at Blackheath and see the murder from each of their perspectives!

Confused?!  You may well be, I certainly was for the first couple of chapters until I got the hang of how the story was going to pan out.  Aiden has been tasked with finding the murderer and for him it is groundhog day until he does so.  He also have a million unanswered questions, not least who is Anna the girl he has seen chased through the Blackheath woods at the start of the novel and her murder that he is sure has been committed.

Alongside this is the no small matter of the death of Evelyn's brother Thomas in the lake when he was just a child, and for which Evelyn was unequivocally blamed and of the psychopathic footman who will stop at nothing to prevent Aiden from solving the mystery.

This is a book to concentrate when reading, go with the flow, suspend your disbelief and let Stuart Turton take you into a murder mystery unlike any other.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

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