Marvelous Murder Mystery Mesmerized Me

This book is a whirlwind of mind-fuckery. I lost track of the total number of murders happening in the murder mystery; there are many more than the seven and a half deaths of Evelyn. Always overly confident with my hypotheses, I was convinced I knew the answer after a quarter of the way through the story, but I was wrong. Turton kept me guessing until the end.

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a harrowing tale of redemption disguised as a game of Clue. Aiden Bishop wakes up fighting for his life and running from a murderer with no recollection of who he is or why he is at Blackheath Manor. All he knows is the name of a woman: Anna. The invitation in his room names him Sebastian Bell and indicates he's here for the homecoming celebration of Miss Evelyn Hardcastle. Aiden is reliving this day over and over again, trying to determine who murdered Evelyn at the end of each evening. Will he be able to solve the mystery and free himself from this Hotel California before the eight days are up? What might he learn about himself through this trial?

“Nothing like a mask to reveal somebody's true nature.”

There is so much here. If you are a murder mystery fan, this is a veritable buffet.

Not only the deaths of Evelyn, but also the other partygoers including a madman hunting down Aiden and Anne as they attempt to abscond from Blackheath Manor.Everyone at Blackheath has a secret. By the end of the story my head was so full of all of the mysteries to keep track of that I was left in awe as Turton actually covered them all.

“Too little information and you're blind, too much and you're blinded.”

Because of the many mysteries in this tale, Turton can easily continue rolling out character revelations while continuing to peel back the onion to reveal even more from this story. The layers of intrigue kept me thinking "one more chapter" all night long. When I was determined that I knew who killed Evelyn and sure that Turton was about to validate that hypothesis, I found myself look at yet another unexplainable murder. Instead of answers I found only more questions. By the time I started to reach the end of the book I assumed there would be questions left unanswered, but Turton surprised me yet again. He manages to bring everything to a satisfying conclusion that was really astonishing.

The murder mystery trapped me at Blackheath, but the characters kept me there. The book might seem like your basic whodunit but when you look closer Turton creates an interesting debate about the meaning of redemption. Each of the partygoers at Blackheath has their own history and secrets, no one in this story is a "traditional good guy" including our protagonist but still I find myself rooting for them. Turton shows us what it means to go from enemies to friends and proves that atonement is always possible. He reminds us that life doesn't always give us easy choices and questions if the future is really set.

I enjoyed this book so thoroughly that I was genuinely convinced I had missed something wrong with it. Although I searched my brain for anything I didn't really like about the tale, I just couldn't find something. The mysteries are multifaceted and layered. The characters are complex and relatable. The themes are thought provoking. This one is a winner.


Historical Fiction
Mystery & Thrillers
Science Fiction