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The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Written by: Stuart Turton
Narrated by: Jot Davies
Length: 16 hrs and 41 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (91 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Costa First Novel Award 2018

A brilliantly original high-concept murder mystery from a fantastic new talent: Gosford Park meets Inception by way of Agatha Christie. 

'Somebody's going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won't appear to be a murder, and so the murderer won't be caught. Rectify that injustice and I'll show you the way out.' 

It is meant to be a celebration, but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed. But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden - one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party - can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot. 

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath.... 

©2018 Stuart Turton (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Come for the mystery, stay for the morality

Phew! That was a fun ride. I have been listening to the '7 deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle's audiobook version for months now. It took months only because I had a strict 'listening only while cooking' rule. There were 2 hours of audiobook left when I was done making lunch today and I just could not wait till dinner to finish the book. So I snapped and ended up purchasing an ebook version because reading is quicker than listening. Yes, the book was so interesting that I paid for two versions of it.

'7 deaths' is two mysteries in one. The first is the mystery of Evelyn Hardcastle's murder and the second is the mystery of the premise itself which is - who are the people trapped in the loop trying to solve a murder and why. I enjoyed the solution to the second mystery a lot more than the first as it was original and much deeper than I'd thought.

From the beginning, when you are introduced to this nameless person (eventually revealed to be Aiden Bishop) trapped inside a host he has no respect for, you start rooting for him. Every time he sleeps or dies, he wakes up as another person, in another host's body. He has little memory of who he is and he loses a bit of it every time the host changes. At times, I felt as helpless and frustrated as Aiden because he was made to try and solve a murder to which he seemingly has no connection in order to go back to his own life that he doesn't remember. It was reminiscent of a very different book I read about memories called 'Elizabeth Is Missing'.

I was worried that the author would pull the rug from under me in the end and reveal that I've been rooting for a horrible monster. Interestingly, knowing the ending, I realize that it wouldn't have mattered.

I loved how distinct and interesting each host was. The whole book was the reader processing the world of Blackheath through these different minds. And I thoroughly enjoyed that Aiden, just like the readers, learns what it means to be good from even the worst of them. Jot Davies, the narrator of the audiobook version, had the difficult task of making these host characters sound distinct but similar. And I must say, he pulled it off. So much so that when I read the final chapters, it sounded like his voice in my mind.

The ending was not as clever as the premise and in my opinion, Evelyn's murder mystery was not very convincingly solved. But with 7 deaths, you'd come for the time-loop, body-swap murder mystery but stay for lessons on morality, forgiveness, and justice. I'd recommend listening to the audiobook version for a better experience.

1 person found this helpful

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a thrilling read

so different from any other murder mystery out there... excellent concept... narration is beyond excellent... loved the unique and memorable voices for all the characters

1 person found this helpful

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What an amazing ride!!!

My first audio book experience in audible and oh boy what a book I picked up. This is absolutely fantastic read and the narrator and his different voices as different characters are just brilliant. I can not praise enough this piece of art.... :D

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

My first full-length Audible experience!

I chose this particular genre so that I would be motivated to listen more to get to the end of the story since this is my first ever audiobook on Audible. I must say it did not disappoint and was reasonably engaging. Loved the gentleman performing the written word to give it enough and more verve to make it quite intriguing and fun!

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must read

struggled to put down. amazing read , Just start in the day , or you won't be able to slee.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully Told & Delightfully Confusing

This plot is a work of art, carefully crafted to keep me hopelessly lost but never losing interest. Davies handled the story brilliantly, conveying the emotions and differentiating the various narrators. I look forward to Turton’s next book.

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Expressive narrator tells an amazing story.

Loved it. Clear narration with surprisingly good and wide variety of accents that makes the story even more enjoyable. The story itself is an amazing piece of mystery. Keeps you surprised and thinking. Not pointlessly convoluted into annoyance and everything feels like it should naturally be there.

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Amazing thriller

As I say this is an amazing thriller, I would like to keep this story not to be revealed. It captures the best of all imagination and what an end...

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stupendous thriller

no words to describe the thrill it gave me while listening this novel, every chapter a twist which makes you listen next .... wow... it gave satisfaction of suspence thriller

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A complex read

This one is something I stumbled upon by coincidence and immediately captivated by the blurb. I jumped right into this, keeping aside the other book I was reading. When someone asked me about my current read, all I could say was 'I have twisted, turned and wrung my brain in every single possible way, and whatever left I hung it out to dry'. And thats what I feel even now, thinking about it for reviewing.

Needless to say, the book is outstanding. I can only imagine the lengths the author might have gone to pen something such complicated into words. Things the human brain is capable of. Plots, subplots, twists, you name it, it is there. Only you get tired and lost somewhere in there, not able to take any more of it. Such confusing is the puzzle, and with the addition of more intertwined subplots, it felt slow paced, at least that's what I felt. Even when everything fell into place at the end, there were still some lingering doubts, which felt laborious to go back and clarify. But it felt nice to see the same day through the eyes of different people or hosts, I was able to connect some dots in between.

Another thing worth mentioning is the characterization of each host. I must say the author is an expert at playing with metaphors. For instance, the part where he describes Michael Hardcastle's face: "He is no more than twenty four, with dark hair and wide, flattened features that give the impression of his face being pressed up against a pane of glass", literally cracked me up.

All in all, I couldn't say if I enjoyed the book or not. This is a brilliant work which could be better enjoyed, if tackled with a clear and fresh mind.This is not something you could pick up as a light read before bed after a really tiring day.

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  • Bea
  • 15-03-18

A grand read!<br />If you think you know something ...

Absolutely loved it! The novel with so many twists and turns that you must be extremely careful on your reading path!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Sheri Faleij
  • 10-09-18

The Golden Buzzer!

Five stars are not enough.
Enthralling as you experience being multiple victims, perpetrators, advocates, accusers and think deeply of punishments and forgiveness.

I’m betting the story out twists and turns anyone who listens!

The narrator is absolutely lovely!
He’s got the feelings captured in his voice!

So very, very well done.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Luke GJ Potter
  • 30-07-18

Page Turner, or Commute Lengthener

I loved this murder mystery. It took a little while to get going, but I trusted in the reviews here on Audible and it was worth it.
I wanted to keep listening to the story, even when my commute was over. I gets into a great flow after the janky start.
I'm really happy I seen the cover of this book in the book shop and added it to my Wishlist here.

3 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Brenda Chetty
  • 28-02-20

Torturous

But eventually finished it.... a very insubstantial story, narrator did not help.
No recommendations from me.

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  • PJM
  • 09-06-18

Oh My Goodness

What a terrific book this is. I was gripped from the very beginning. The story is complicated and I think that listening to it in a short space of time helped me to keep up with the amount of information being decoded and remembering who all the different characters were, but it was well worth it. The writing is fantastic and I really felt like I was learning everything at the same time as the narrator. Jot Davies does a wonderful job with the narration. I can't recommended this book enough. It's unlike anything I've read or listened to before and the ending is quite simply stunning. It's a remarkable achievement to get such a high-concept story absolutely right without alienating the reader by being too clever or complex but Stuart Turton has done something very special and I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.

31 people found this helpful

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  • Martin
  • 03-08-18

Complex but Brilliant. A Classic in the making!

If you tend to choose books (like I do) partly based on listening hours per credit then this is for you. After wading through the 16+ hours I instantly restarted just to revisit all the plot twists to check for holes. Stuart Turton manages to hold together all the intricate moving parts brilliantly and it all makes much more sense a second time through. How he kept it all organised in his mind as he developed the story is amazing and points to a serious new talent. I look forward to his next book even though this is not my typical genre type.

Other reviewers criticise the complexity; they are right to do so. This is definitely not a casual background listen. Some of the prose is fantastic, and the scene setting is bleak, atmospheric and claustrophobic. There are no innocent characters to redeem a darkly twisted plot or lift the oppressive mood where a stately house and grounds provides the stage for some frankly awful people to conduct their vile business. The house itself is like another character in the play, brought to life with descriptions that remind me of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast.

If that all sounds horrible, it is but in a darkly fascinating way where the story starts slow, drawing you in and accelerating once it orientates the reader and delivers some clues. It accelerates throughout with the last few hours leaving me reeling with the number of red herrings and direction changes as the mystery is revealed.

Others criticise Jot Davies' narration, but I personally found it spot on for the mood of the book. He creates the perfect atmosphere, slightly sinister but giving weight to such well written description and dialogue. His voice acting was consistent and completely believable over a wide range of characters and accents. Absolutely brilliant.

To sum up. Yes this does demand concentration and effort and benefits (for me) from a second listen, but I found it to incredibly rewarding and enjoyable in a morbidly fascinating way. The characters are vile, but are still believable and true to their own twisted motivations. The pacing is brilliant with more and more of the mystery revealed at an accelerating rate and the climax is brilliantly done. One of the best audiobooks I have ever listened to and I cannot recommend it enough. Please put the effort in and give it a go; this could be looked back on as a classic!

106 people found this helpful

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  • Shane O'Dea
  • 08-03-18

Fantastic and Original

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I loved this book. It was action all the way but you needed to pay attention as it had a complex plot. Took the time travel concept and reworked it in a totally original way. Can't wait for more from this author.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Missus-S
  • 12-04-18

Utterly gripping

So many twists, I feel quite dizzy.
I found the language breathtaking, this is a skilled writer. If Agatha Christie had written Groundhog Day, this would be the end product. My life has been pretty much on hold till I finished it, it so absorbed me. Loved it. Highly recommended.

40 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Angela
  • 16-05-18

Dense But Interesting

Thoroughly enjoyable however I think a lot is missed in the audio version, so much so that I have reserved the ebook from my local library. I feel like I missed out on some twists with the audio and want to read it properly.
Good performance however but I don't think this was the best medium for me for this title.

25 people found this helpful

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  • Sweetpea
  • 02-03-18

Downtown Abbey meets Groundhog Day!

This book is completely different to any other crime book I’ve ever read! it’s complex, confusing, and mind bending, but at the same time utterly compelling.
There is a host of different characters, time hops galore and a whole host of murders. It’s one of those books that once completed, you want to start rereading to see all the clues and red herrings you missed.
A fantastic debut novel, Mr Turton!

15 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Suswati
  • 28-03-18

Convoluted

I would love to watch this as a TV series because as a book it seems rather all over the place. Following Aiden Bishop, who seems to be appear in a new host body every day in order to solve a Gosford Park-style murder, he's also stacked against competitors desperate to flee this entrapment.

The premise is fantastic - it's Inception mixed with Agatha Christie- but I feel the author Stuart Turton may have overstretched himself because by the end it's a tangle of a mess, and finishes rather abruptly, trying to tackle loose ends. I may be in the minority, but I found myself drifting away quite a bit, actually forgetting characters. There's far too many murders and body swapping, and I don't think it reached its potential.

21 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Sal
  • 30-04-18

Confusing

An interesting idea, well narrated and with real potential. However, the plot was incredibly confusing, particularly as an audio, and I kept having to go back and relisten to sections. I also thought it was over long and the ending lacked impact. Almost all the characters in the novel were vile so I found it difficult to care about them and at times the plot really dragged. I'm afraid this one wasn't really for me.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Wras
  • 16-05-18

A very hard to sustain conceit or device.

Here is a story that is a kind of science fiction, come detective story, come horror tale but not any of them, in the end, it is just a writers device to spice up a story of redemption and forgiveness. It felt contrived and claustrophobic and repetitive (but that was the warning the title gave), I kept on thinking let's get to the point, and I and the character would be taken back to the same point of the story viewed from a different angle, which did not open any new understandings.

Too much like as nightmare and too long within a conundrum that has no logic except for the one given by the author. It may be fascinating to create this world as a writer, but as a reader, I found it frustrating and without much reward, because in the end, everything had to be explained by one of the characters for it to be understood and have a logic that explained what had happened repeatedly.

Too stylized to feel connected to the character and too repetitive to care for the final outcome. I do not mind putting a bit of hard work for literature, but entertainment should not be this difficult.

58 people found this helpful

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  • Janet leslie
  • 23-08-18

Couldn't listen to the narration

The voice really disrupted my enjoyment of the story. I wouldn't buy another book with same narrator.

30 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-11-18

Excellent narration

Addictive listening. Couldn’t wait for the next chapter. Dramatic narration was excellent. An interesting story concept.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-10-18

Patience and attention will give you a great story

At the beggining is a little difficult to engage with so many different characters, nevertheless, once you got a grip of the story, you get a mindblowing experience.

5 people found this helpful

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  • claire
  • 05-08-18

Simply brilliant

Everything about this is amazing. The original story idea, the setting, the characters. The narrator is perfect. I rarely leave written reviews but I have to forward this one.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-01-19

Wow keeps you guessing

It takes a while to get into it but once you do wow. So many twists and turns I found myself having to go back before I could move forward. I hope they make this into a tV miniseries (ABC/BBC) adds don’t spoil the suspense.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Tory1
  • 13-10-19

Circular story with predicable ending

Round and round we go!
This story is a ‘groundhog day’ torture.
Audible performer does a great job.
Wouldn’t recommend this to anyone I know.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anna
  • 24-04-20

Gothic Horror with finesse

Jot’s performance is outstanding with nuance and inflection building character profiles throughout.
The story is complex. As it is revealed only in the onion like layers of narration, it’s a lot to keep track of and must have driven the editor to drink. The resolution is very clever and satisfying to the persistance needed to stay to the end. The prose is beautiful - poetic and often insightful of people and motive.
Worth a 2nd listening in a year or two’s time.

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  • Kerstin Lange
  • 27-03-20

Stick with it

Dreadfully slow in the beginning but once you get into it it’s a pretty good concept and you have to pay close attention not to miss anything!!

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  • Paul Rowan
  • 25-03-20

Brilliant, if very confusing to start

A fantastic concept that's almost impossible to bring to life; Davies manages to tell the story of a single repeated day without the narrative growing stagnant. It's elegantly written and expertly performed.
I'm harsh in depriving the Story of two stars, but the degree of confusion I felt for the first two thirds of the book were at times frustrating, and at other times, maddening. An argument could be made that the narrative needs to be somewhat confused, given the design of the plot, and that it serves to better empathise the reader with the sense of lost bewilderment experienced by the characters. It does not change the fact that I was scratching my head for longer than I'd have liked.
Ultimately, I feel the book deserves a second read through for me to fully appreciate (and understand) the depth of skill and thought that went into the weaving of such an elaborate murder mystery.
Worth the listen if you are a fan of the genre and have the stomach (or the whiteboard) for a very twisted narrative.

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  • SED
  • 23-03-20

Clever idea but too complicated

I hoped that after the confusing start, all would be made clear but it was very hard to follow. Potentially a clever approach to a murder mystery but didn’t quite deliver. I persevered to the end but could have easily given up many times along the way.

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  • B. Rawlings
  • 15-03-20

Had to stop. Couldn't hear it. Too quiet!

The narrator sounded professional, but also sounded like they were reading a children's book to children. On top of that, their voice was too low and, at times, too quiet to hear. Unless you listen in a very quiet environment (I listen whilst driving), I would not recommend this title. I can't comment on the quality of the story, however, though it didn't really hook me in during the 30 minutes I attempted.