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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 (64 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 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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 of 1 people found this review 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 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A great listen

A well-crafted book that is elevated by Jot Davies narration. Would love to listen to more books read by Jot Davies

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Agatha Christie would have been proud of this!

Cannot stop once you start. The narrator has done an amazing job with the various characters. A murder mystery at its best.

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Fantastic book and brilliantly delivered.

I felt like I was there, in the mystery, in the house, observing the people, feeling what they felt, the confusion, the horror, and the mystery. Loved the book, absolutely amazing!

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Incredible ...👏👏 i absolutely loved this book

have you liked the movie inception if yes dont miss this book. its absolutely gripping, amazing storyline, every single chapter making you not to stop and continue to the next and until the end suspense keeping itself alive. i am so happy that i picked this book. 👏😊👍

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Amazing!

It's no mystery that I've wanted to get my hands on an amazing thriller for a long time now. Finally, the book gods delivered and how! A tale of sin, chaos, upheaval, and redemption, this book is a saga that reiterated one of my strongest beliefs–it is not people who are bad but their circumstances. Within the first five chapters, when the premise of the story became clear to me, I was confident that Turton had bitten off more than he could chew. The plot of a man waking up in the bodies of different "hosts," trying to figure out the identity of the ever elusive murderer is a far cry from "playing it safe." Rest assured, I was sure that this book was a disaster waiting to happen. I am so glad that I was wrong! The way that Turton weaved together all the storylines and subplots, going out with a bang rather than with a whimper left my mouth hanging and my mind reeling. I loved how the author incorporated such strong female characters into the plot (a rarity in the mystery/thriller genre); I loved the lyricism of the prose ("Say it with a story, and say it soon"); and, last but not the least, I loved the narration by Jot Davies–it's no easy feat to modulate your voice to match that of twenty plus characters and Davies made it look like a cakewalk. I'm not sure whether anything I read again will ever match up to this gem–and I don't just mean in the mystery/thriller genre.

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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!

3 of 3 people found this review 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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

2 of 2 people found this review 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!

98 of 100 people found this review helpful

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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.

24 of 24 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

18 of 18 people found this review 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 of 42 people found this review helpful

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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 of 27 people found this review 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 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

57 of 64 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Sally
  • 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 of 21 people found this review 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.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • DartmoorDiva
  • 08-12-18

Interminable...

This had rave reviews. It was billed as 'a dazzling take on the murder mystery'. I stuck with it for the entire 16 hours and 41 minutes... and wish I hadn't wasted my time. It's far too long, full of one-dimensional characters and a ludicrous plot - if you can call it a plot. It was like being trapped in a very boring computer game. It's not clever, it's not well written and is a deeply unsatisfying read.

17 of 19 people found this review 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 of 5 people found this review 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.

4 of 4 people found this review 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 of 4 people found this review 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.

2 of 2 people found this review 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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • James Pettifer
  • 07-12-19

Brilliant

One of the most amazing books I have listened to. Twists and turns and puzzles.

Amazing how every little loose string is tied up and anything which is out of place or odd is crucial to the plot.

Midway I felt that it may end up being too long and the ending would disappoint but I was pleasantly surprised.

It will definitely be a book I remember for a long time.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 01-12-19

Strange but gripping

Very different but addictive. I listened to the book over many consecutive hours.
Over long and disquieting, I was mesmerised throughout.

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  • Vicki Reeves
  • 01-12-19

Cluedo in a book!

Creative, complicated and captivating. It's a closed house murder mystery, solving a crime that is yet to happen and at the same time, keeps happening over and over. I've not read anything like this before, and though occasionally hard to keep up with all the different criss-crossing characters and events, I enjoyed it thoroughly. Would love to see a film/tv version of this!!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 27-11-19

wow what a great premise

thank you to the writer and narrator that took me OK a confusing and clever journey into purgatory. this is one reason I do t read, I would have gotten confused and given up in the first 3 chapters, but I'm so glad it's on audio and I was able to enjoy it.

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  • Jeannie Phillips
  • 26-11-19

disappointing

Started out wonderfully but became so repetitive I could not be bothered finishing the book.