I must admit, I don’t often buy books by authors I don’t know. Going to the book store is always a struggle anyway, so I have to prioritise in order to not give all my money away. And so, more often than not, I rely on knowing that I like the authors I like and that there is so much trash out there that I can’t trust that I’ll like something I’ve never heard of before. But every rule has its exceptions and sometimes I read a back cover that instantly wins me over and I can’t resist giving the book a shot. This happened on my last trip to the book store when I laid eyes on this book – The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.
When I was little I loved Agatha Christie, so I have a soft spot for crime mystery novels. But lately all I go for is fantasy, sci-fi and the occasional thriller. Well, this books has all of that.
It’s set in the perfect murder mystery setting – a big, gloomy mansion in the countryside. It’s surrounded by a forest. It’s raining all the times. The house is falling apart. The Hardcastles are throwing a party with all their friends – the same people who were there for their last party 20 years ago. They are celebrating the return of their daughter Evelyn. She has has lived in Paris ever since the death of her little brother 19 years ago. The guests to the party are mostly rich aristocrats who have their secrets and generally just don’t want to be there. You know, standard mystery novel stuff… until you get to the time loop and body switching.
See, the narrator wakes up with no memories of who he is and how he got to be where he is. Which is fine, happens to the best of us. But the next day he wakes up in a different body and it’s the same day (I don’t know about you, but that has never happend to me before, no matter how much alcohol was involved). He has a creepy guy in a plague doctor costume telling him he has to solve the murder mystery to be free. Telling him he’s been there ages, loop after loop, failing to solve it. In between trying to solve the murder, running into himself and trying to change the events around him, the narrator also has to worry about a guy who is set on murdering him in all of his bodies. Oh and there are other people competing with him for the prize of getting out of the loop and if they solve the mystery before him he will be stuck there forever. No big deal, right…