Book Review: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle



I love a good mystery. It's one of the few genres I cannot resist. So when I heard there was a new mystery novel that seemingly combines Agatha Christie and Downton Abbey, I just had to read it. Unfortunately, for me, this book did not live up to the hype.

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle tells the story of Aiden Bishop, a visitor at Blackheath House, the home of the Hardcastle family. There, he awakens to find himself transported into the body of another of the house guests. Confused, he is later told that he will wake up every morning for the next seven days in the body of a different house guest. Until he can figure out who kills Evelyn Hardcastle, this cycle will continue. Each house guest can be a help or a hindrance to his investigation, and if he does not complete his investigation by the eighth day, the entire scenario will start over, and all his memories of the previous days erased. Aiden must rush to discover the truth, or risk being stuck in this unimaginable cycle forever. Along the way he meets a cast of characters/hosts and must also discover friend from foe. By the end of the novel, Aiden must decide what his fate will be and whether he can solve the mystery of Evelyn Hardcastle.

This book had an intriguing beginning. I was completely hooked from the first page and could not put the book down. However, by page 100, the allure of this "new kind" of mystery was quickly waning. The massive amount of characters to keep straight became a huge burden, even for someone who reads fantasy books with tons of characters. The constant switching of perspectives, jumping from one character to the next, was tedious and frankly annoying. I quickly lost interest in the narrative and skimmed the rest of the novel to find out the ending.

The ending was absolutely ridiculous. The "twist" was unbelievable and the resolution to the story was bland and boring. In no way, shape or form was this mystery any better or innovative than mysteries I have read in the past. This in no way lives up to any of Agatha Christie's novels, and I can honestly say I did not enjoy this book. It became more of a chore to read than a pleasure, and I honestly do not understand the hype around it.

I cannot recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery. The hook in the beginning is good, but to me it was the best part. There were just too many characters and too much perspective switching to really thoroughly enjoy this novel. Hopefully I can pass it along to another reader who can love it in a better way than I could.

Rating: ⭐⭐ 1/2

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