Book Review: The 7 & 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

  • The Book: The 7 & 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
  • The Author: Stuart Turton
  • PIP! SAYS: 4 Paws

What would you do if you woke up in the woods one morning with no idea who you were or how you got there? And the first thing you think you see and hear is a woman in peril. Upon finding the house in the middle of the trees you discover that everyone knows who you are, and no one believes you.

Aiden Bishop wakes up on Day One in that exact situation. And then he wakes up on Day Two. In a different body. And then on Day Three, in a third.

“You were a doctor,” he says. “Then a butler, today, a playboy, tomorrow a banker. None of them is your real face, or your real personality. Those were stripped from you when you entered Blackheath, and they won’t be returned to you until you leave.”

“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.”

“If you don’t solve this problem by midnight in your final host, we’ll strip your memories and return you to the body of Doctor Bell and this will all begin again.”

pages 67/68/69

The Harcastle Family has invited a houseful of guests for their annual ball. Someone will die at that ball. And Aiden Bishop must solve that murder in order to gain his freedom. But it’s not as simple as that – he only knows what he can find out from manipulating the body of that day’s host. While some hosts are helpful, others are not. And each decision that he makes impacts the events and the actions of not only the other party guests but also of his other hosts.

Will Aiden Turner find the answers and win his freedom?

This was my very first “influenced by bookstagram” read. I saw about a dozen posts about this book and its very creative and different set up and narrative. It’s a mystery / thriller and that has been my genre of choice recently.

This is a detective mystery. As the reader I followed the clues and tried to piece the mystery together: who killed Evelyn Hardcastle. But this is also a thriller and the real mystery was so much more than that and the answer is so complex that it takes the efforts of eight different hosts for Aiden to find it. I admit I thought I had this one figured out … and not only was I wrong, I was missing the biggest piece.

I initially found it hard to get into the story …. it starts off slow and sluggish (exactly how Dr. Bell, the first host is feeling) and though I thought I knew what was supposed to be happening I felt lost – like I couldn’t find the plot. Once the work Aiden does within his hosts begins to pick up so does this book. The author weaves details through every chapter, every host, every decision Aiden as someone else makes. A few times I wanted to jump into the story to help him – at times Aiden’s journey seemed so much more important than solving the mystery.

This book has one narrator: Aiden. But with 8 different points of view. The entire book is a twist and a departure from the way typical mystery / detective books unfold and it makes for a very involved and fascinating read.

Although I finished this book in December, I have not shelved it yet … I definitely want to reread it – and take notes. I want to see what clues I missed and pay more attention to what Aiden says, does and sees each day in each host.

If you read or have read this book – come talk to me! I would love to know what you thought and what clues you found and what you might have missed.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: The 7 & 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

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