Date finished: February 1, 2019
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, Stuart Turton
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was one of the buzziest books of 2018, and I just knew I was going to love it: the premise is exciting and original; it’s set in a gorgeous British castle; it’s comped to Agatha Christie and Groundhog Day. It had to be a winner.
I am loath to say that this is not the book for me, no matter how much I tried to love it.
Let me begin by saying that I rarely sit down and focus 100% of my attention on a book. I listen to audiobooks while working; I read on my phone while commuting; I snack while flipping through hardbacks. The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a book that needs all of your attention pretty much the entire time you’re reading it. This left me quite lost more than once, and I’m certain there were small details that contributed to identification of the murderer(s) that I glossed over completely.
I have the utmost respect for authors like Christie (And Then There Were None) and Turton who weave intricate, multi-character, multi-timelines tales of crime, deceit, and horror, but I simply do not wish to read whilst jotting down notes about characters, places, and timelines, which is what I felt this book required of me to get the most out of it.
Some of the characters are fun and memorable, while others are easy to hate, but others still are easily forgettable. Aiden Bishop embodies eight different characters, but in addition to keeping those people’s personalities, traits, jobs, and names in mind, you’re also expected to remember the characters who move around those eight: their relatives, lovers, illegitimate children, and household staff. I could not keep up.
While I did enjoy this book to an extent and was eager to learn who was responsible for the crimes at Blackheath, I found myself more often confused and frustrated. I’d recommend for fans of Westworld, Agatha Christie, and big end-of-the-book reveals, but this one’s not for everyone.
Photo courtesy @somekindofalibrary (Instagram)