The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (Paperback)

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle By Stuart Turton Cover Image

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (Paperback)

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October 2018 Indie Next List


“I hadn't known how badly I needed to escape my own life and sink into someone else's. Or in this case-- many lives. The multiple perspectives gives this book a mind-blowing mash-up feeling of Clue and the best Agatha Christie. There's a certain delicious joy to being confused and then ignoring the rest of the world while you read, desperate to discover the answers. Sure it's the basic premise of a mystery, but for some readers it's a forgotten joy in need of reviving. Fun, inventive and thoroughly entertaining, perhaps leave your own reality reading is the new binge watching.”
— Beth Reynolds, Norwich Bookstore, Norwich, VT

Summer 2019 Reading Group Indie Next List


“Evelyn Hardcastle will die tonight, at her own party, unless Aiden can figure out who the murderer is before it happens. How? He will spend a day inside the bodies of different guests at the estate, repeating the day over and over until he can solve the case. As he cycles through his ‘hosts,’ Aiden begins to recover memories of who he is, why he is trapped in this bizarre loop, and how to escape once and for all. A meld of golden-age mystery, surreal futurism, and period drama, this book is fresh, strange, and maddeningly (yet satisfyingly) complex.”
— Annie Metcalf, Magers & Quinn Booksellers, Minneapolis, MN

The following review is from the Guardian and written by Carrie O'Grady:

 

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton review – Quantum Leap meets Agatha Christie

With time loops, body swaps and a psychopathic footman, this is a dazzling take on the murder mystery

Some books are a gift to the marketing department. The folks at Raven, a newish crime imprint at Bloomsbury, have described this one as “Gosford Park meets Inception, by way of Agatha Christie”. It’s a good tagline, but they might just as well have chosen “An Instance of the Fingerpost meets Battle Royale via Punchdrunk theatre”, or “Quantum Leap crossed with The Bone Clocks and Zork”, or “Cluedo meets Groundhog Day by way of The GCHQ Puzzle Book (with a twist!)”.

So yes, it is derivative, but that’s not meant as a criticism. Stuart Turton, a debut novelist, has drawn on half a dozen familiar tropes from popular culture and reworked them into something altogether fresh and memorable. His murder mystery takes place in the classic setting of the 1920s country house, but right from the start, you know you’re far from Hercule Poirot territory.

The narrator wakes up in a dripping forest, wearing someone else’s dinner jacket and, he soon realises, someone else’s body. He has no memory of who he is or how he came to be trapped inside this stranger. Twigs crack behind him. A heavy object is dropped into his pocket and a voice rasps in his ear: “East.” Once alone, he pulls out the object; it’s a silver compass.

Eventually our man learns that his name is Aiden Bishop, and he is here for a reason. A masked figure informs him tersely that today, a murder will be committed – a murder that won’t seem like a murder. Bishop has eight chances to solve it. He will relive the same day eight times, but each morning he’ll wake up in a different body, or “host”. He’ll remember his experiences in the previous hosts, but if he doesn’t give the masked figure the name of the killer by day eight, he’ll be returned to day one, memory wiped, and have to start all over again. As indeed he already has done, hundreds, perhaps thousands of times.

In due course, Bishop is told he has rivals: two of the other members of the country house party are also hosts to foreign souls, tasked with unveiling the murderer. Only one of the three can succeed and thereby be freed from the time loop. And, just to keep him on his toes, he is being sought by a psychopath, a knife-wielding footman who targets each of the hosts in turn. Looks like a busy day for Mr Bishop.

This summary can hardly do justice to the mind-boggling complexity of the plot. There is a twist on nearly every page, and there are more than 500 pages. It’s a rare reader who won’t be hopelessly flummoxed well before the halfway point. And what a pleasure it is to give oneself up to the book, to be met with discoveries and thrilling upsets at every turn in the labyrinth. Not only is nothing what it seems, it’s not even what it seems after it’s been revealed to be not what it seems. “Fate’s leading me around by the nose,” says Bishop ruefully, and we can only sympathise.
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There is more to chew on here than just the mechanics of a time-travel detective story. Bishop, to his dismay, finds that his hosts’ personalities threaten to overrule his own at times, and some of them are nasty pieces of work, making him do things he would never normally countenance. “Every man is in a cage of his own making,” a character sagely remarks, and haven’t we all felt at times like impostors in our own bodies? There’s a moral aspect to Bishop’s dilemma, too. He likes Evelyn, and feels bound to prevent her murder – but how can he unmask her killer, and thus gain his freedom, unless the killing takes place?
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Here, Turton touches on a problem central to his genre: you can’t have a murder mystery without a murder, which is by nature a brutal act that doesn’t always fit within the confines of a traditional detective story. He ingeniously uses his time-loop idea to get around it. Several times he likens his characters to “shadows cast upon the wall” – and indeed, since each morning brings the victims back to life, the act of murder here comes to seem no more dreadful than flicking off a light switch.

The price Turton pays for this is a loss of emotional engagement on the reader’s part. But as an intellectual thriller, the book can’t be faulted, and in the end, it’s the story that triumphs, with a series of last-minute revelations as dazzling as the finale of a fireworks show. I’m not sure it entirely makes sense, when all’s said and done – but who cares? If you want to work it all out, you’ll need to buy an entire sticky-note factory. Much more fun to just go along for the ride.

— Devin

Cranbrook Kingswood Recommendation

If Agatha Christie created an escape room, this would be it. Very unique debut fiction. My favorite book so far this year.

— Amy Barker

"Pop your favorite Agatha Christie whodunnit into a blender with a scoop of Downton Abbey, a dash of Quantum Leap, and a liberal sprinkling of Groundhog Day and you'll get this unique murder mystery." —Harper's Bazaar

THE NATIONAL BESTSELLER!

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a breathlessly addictive mystery that follows one man's race to find a killer, with an astonishing time-turning twist that means nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Aiden Bishop knows the rules. Evelyn Hardcastle will die every day until he can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest at Blackheath Manor. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others. With a locked-room mystery that Agatha Christie would envy, Stuart Turton unfurls a breakneck novel of intrigue and suspense.

International bestselling author Stuart Turton delivers inventive twists in a thriller of such unexpected creativity it will leave readers guessing until the very last page.

ALSO BY STUART TURTON:

The Devil and the Dark Water

The Last Murder at the End of the World

STUART TURTON is a freelance journalist who lives in West London with his wife. Stuart is not to be trusted—in the nicest possible way. The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is his first novel.


Product Details ISBN: 9781492670124
ISBN-10: 149267012X
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: May 7th, 2019
Pages: 480
Language: English

The Sunday Times Bestseller

Costa First Novel Award Winner

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Buzzfeed's 17 Mystery Books You Won't Be Able to Put Down

Country Living's 27 Murder Mystery Books You Won't Be Able To Put Down

Town & Country's 35 Best Books About Time Travel

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Tor.com's 7 Thrilling Murder Mysteries With SFF Flair

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BookRiot's 10 Best Time Loop Books



"Pop your favorite Agatha Christie whodunnit into a blender with a scoop of Downton Abbey, a dash of Quantum Leap, and a liberal sprinkling of Groundhog's Day and you'll get this unique murder mystery. The twisting, cleverly-written debut..." — Harper’s Bazaar, 10 New Books to Add to Your Reading List in 2018

"Atmospheric and unique, this is a mystery that adds "Who am I?" to the question of whodunit, with existentially suspenseful results." — Foreword Reviews

"Turton's debut is a brainy, action-filled sendup of the classic mystery." — Kirkus Reviews

"This novel is so ingenious and original that it’s difficult to believe it’s Turton’s debut. The writing is completely immersive...there are certainly echoes of Agatha Christie here, but it’s Christie ramped up several notches, thanks to the malevolent twist on the Groundhog Day theme. Readers may be scratching their heads in delicious befuddlement as they work their way through this novel, but one thing will be absolutely clear: Stuart Turton is an author to remember." — Booklist

"This book blew my mind! Utterly original and unique." — Sophie Hannah, international bestselling author

"If Agatha Christie and Terry Pratchett had ever had LSD-fueled sex, then The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle would be their acid trip book baby. Darkly comic, mind-blowingly twisty, and with a cast of fantastically odd characters, this is a locked room mystery like no other." — Sarah Pinborough, New York Times bestselling author

"I hereby declare Stuart Turton the Mad Hatter of Crime. The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is unique, energizing, and clever. So original, a brilliant read." — Ali Land, Sunday Times bestselling author Good Me Bad Me

"Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! It’s a work of sheer genius. An amazing, unique book that blew my mind." — Sarah J. Harris, author of The Color of Bee Larkham’s Murder

"A kaleidoscopic mystery that brilliantly bends the limits of the genre and the mind of the reader. The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is urgent, inventive, creepy and, above all, a blast to read!" — Matthew Sullivan, author of Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

"Agatha Christie meets Downton Abbey with a splash of red wine and Twin Peaks. Dark and twisty, lush and riddled with gorgeous prose, part of me will always be trapped in Blackheath." — Delilah S. Dawson, New York Times bestselling author

"Gloriously inventive, playful and clever, this is a must for mystery fans. I wish I'd written it myself." — Robin Stevens, author of the Wells and Wong mystery series

"Stuart Turton’s debut novel is dazzling in its complexity, astonishing in its fiendishness, and shocking in its sheer audacity. Every page, every character, and every deliciously dark secret is an absolute treat. Turton is going places." — Anna Stephens, author of The Godblind Trilogy

"Stuart Turton’s debut novel is dazzling in its complexity, astonishing in its fiendishness, and shocking in its sheer audacity. Every page, every character, and every deliciously dark secret is an absolute treat. Turton is going places." — Anna Stephens, author of The Godblind Trilogy

"I’m green with envy; I wish I’d written this book." — Jenny Blackhurst, author of How I Lost You

"Absolute envy-making bloody murderous brilliance." — Natasha Pulley, author of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

"Absolute envy-making bloody murderous brilliance." — Natasha Pulley, author of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

"My favorite mystery so far this year, it’s Agatha Christie, Groundhog Day, and Black Mirror mashed up into the kind of tale you just can’t put down." — Canadian Living

"Bonkers but brilliant. It's an Agatha Christie manor-house mystery– with a Black Mirror twist. Kept me engrossed and guessing throughout, and I still didn't figure it out." — Kirsty Logan, author of The Gracekeepers

"Dazzling. A revolving door of suspects (and narrators); a sumptuous country-house setting; a pure-silk Möbius strip of a story. This bracingly original, fiendishly clever murder mystery—Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day—is quite unlike anything I’ve ever read, and altogether triumphant. I wish I’d written it." — A. J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window