“We are never more ourselves than when we think people aren’t watching.”Stuart Turton, The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
Title: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
Author: Stuart Turton
Genres: Mystery, Historical, Fantasy
Pages: 458 (Paperback)
Published: February 8th, 2018
My Rating: ★★★★¼
Read: 1/1/2023 – 1/4/2023
There’s nothing better than finding a mystery that actually keeps me on my toes and surprises me. When you read a lot in this genre, it’s easy to start recognizing the patterns. The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle very much has the feeling of a classic mystery (namely Agatha Christie), but it also feels fresh.
Trapped in an endless loop of investigating the same murder, Aiden Bishop takes on different ‘hosts’ to help him solve the case of Evelyn Hardcastle’s death. He’s done this many times before, however, after going through eight different perspectives of this one day with no answer, his memory is wiped and he has to begin all over again. Having gone through these loops more times than can be counted, he starts to lose grasp on who he is in the real world. What’s more is that he loses sight of why he’s trapped in Blackheath in the first place.
I got invested in the plot right away though I had a lot of trouble keeping all of the characters and their roles straight. The slow pace didn’t help this and it wasn’t until halfway through the book that I felt I had a grasp on who was who. Even then some of the names were jumbled. Another thing I struggled (and I’ll be vague) with was Aiden’s Blackheath backstory and conclusion later on in the book. It didn’t work for me though thankfully it didn’t interfere with the mystery itself. That part of the ending was unreasonable if you ask me. As for the mystery of Evelyn’s death, conclusions there were also a bit farfetched, though not quite as baffling.
Despite my quips, I can’t deny how hooked I became. My predictions were off which always makes me happy. The writing is good, too, and the characters are both likable and dislikable enough that you don’t always know who you’re rooting for. If you enjoy twisty plots, this one’s for you.
Likes & Dislikes:
What I liked:
- Good writing and a strong narrator.
- So many twists!
- A great setting that has a creepy feel to it without being spooky.
What I didn’t like:
- The book jumped back and forth between a slow and medium pace. Unfortunately, the slow bits made some scenes painfully slow. There was a lot of extra dialogue that didn’t need to be there.
- There did not need to be a romance worked into this, especially not one that changes the whole dynamic of the book.
- The fatphobia in one section of the book physically made me cringe. It was so unnecessarily over the top and insensitive.
This was a fun book to kick off a new reading year. I started with a mystery last year, too. I guess after all of the Christmas fluff my brain is ready for more complex plots come January. I’m also happy that this turned into a small group read with some people from The Global Book Nook. Reading a mystery with a buddy is always more fun!