Posted on

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton

If you like not just whodunnit, but howdunnit, whydunnit, WTFdunnit’s then this book may just be for you!

The book opens with our narrator in a forest during a rainstorm in the middle of shouting the name ‘Anna’ . But he pauses and realises he doesn’t know who he is, how he got there – or who Anna might be – the only thing he does know is that it isn’t his body.

What our protagonist comes to realise is that he is at a society function at a remote country house, and there will be a murder. When that murder occurs, the day resets and he has another chance to solve it – but in the body of another guest.

He will see events from different perspectives, the bodies he is in will have different physical and social barriers to mar his investigation – and there seem to be rules around what can, and always will, happen. And who is the mysterious figure in the creepy plague doctor mask who appears to be threatening him – but also is the only one who knows what is happening.

This has been described as Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day, but that is doing it a disservice – it’s not a whodunnit, but instead a complex look at the guests interactions. It’s a massively thought out plot, involving one day from so many perspectives. As you’re reading, the twists and turns mean the rules and your understanding of what’s actually going on shift hugely and not only is it straightforward to follow, you start to see the jigsaw is both bigger than you thought and a completely different shape than when you started.

Deserving of its recent win at the Books Are My Bag award show, this is a richly drawn, rewarding, intricate roller coaster of a read.

The authors second book is going to need to be very good to keep up this momentum!