The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Stuart Turton. Sourcebooks Landmark, $25.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-49265-7965
Turton’s complex debut blends mystery with Groundhog Day and Quantum Leap. Guests have been invited to the Hardcastle family manse, the dilapidated Blackheath House in the English countryside, for a masquerade ball that the Hardcastles are holding for the return of their daughter, Evelyn, from Paris. At the novel’s start, several days before the ball, an unnamed protagonist comes upon Blackheath and enlists those inside to find the body of a woman he thinks has just been murdered. He’s forgotten his identity, but people at the house think he’s Dr. Sebastian Bell, an invitee to the ball. It turns out Bell is the first of eight people—invited guests of the Hardcastles, their associates, staff, and a police officer—whom the main character will inhabit over eight days in a repeating loop. This loop revolves around two mysteries: who killed young Thomas Hardcastle 19 years ago, and who murders Evelyn, his older sister, the night of the ball? As the hero amasses clues about the past and present, a mysterious costumed “Plague Doctor” chimes in to direct the action, explaining the only escape from this loop is to expose the identity of Evelyn’s murderer. This is a complicated, twisting plot that may delight some looking for a puzzle but may leave others exasperated at the overly abstruse rules and kitchen-sink concept. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/09/2018
Release date: 09/01/2018
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-1-4926-7012-4
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