Day 1266: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Cover for The Seven Deaths of Evelyn HardcastleHere’s another book for the R.I.P. Challenge.

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I know that The Seven (or 7 1/2, depending on the edition) Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle has been receiving a lot of attention, but I was unable to finish it. Looking back at some of the Goodreads reviews, I see that readers are focusing on the plot, although some complained that it was confusing and that characters kept changing identities.

Certainly when I started out reading the book, it seemed promising as a throwback mystery, with maps of the estate grounds and a floor map of the stately home where the novel is set. But I was only a few sentences in when the overwrought, highly embellished writing style with its inapt metaphors started irritating me. In short, I find it one of the worst written novels I have ever read.

Someone please tell Mr. Turton that bedrooms don’t have lips so they can’t be tight-lipped (p. 16), not even in metaphor. Similarly, sounds a character is hearing at the present time are not memories (p. 2). One’s eyes cannot roam, as they are attached to one’s head (p. 2). This is not colorful language, it’s the inept use of a thesaurus.

link to NetgalleyI also thought characters’ reactions were ridiculously unbelievable. When the main character arrives disheveled at the front door of a house and asks for a phone, and the servant gapes at him, he shakes him and says, “Don’t just stand there, you devil!” What? Then characters who appear subsequently show very little alarm at the news that a woman has been murdered in the woods.

This could be the most brilliantly plotted novel ever written, but I have no way of knowing, because I could not bear to read it. I stopped at page 21. I even stopped reading it and gave it a rest, hoping it wouldn’t bother me so much when I started again. That didn’t work.

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7 thoughts on “Day 1266: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

  1. Helen September 25, 2018 / 2:07 pm

    I have to confess, I really enjoyed this book, mainly because I found the plot so unusual and clever. I understand why you stopped reading, though – sometimes a few pages is enough to be able to tell that a book is not for you.

    • whatmeread September 25, 2018 / 2:59 pm

      Yes, definitely not. I know that lots of people liked it, though. That’s why I gave it another try.

  2. FictionFan September 25, 2018 / 7:07 pm

    I haven’t tried this one but I’ve had the experience if being unable to read more than a few pages of a book because of the writing style, so I feel your pain! Better luck next time…

  3. Naomi September 26, 2018 / 9:46 am

    I don’t even think I’ll give this one a try!

  4. salidee April 13, 2021 / 11:24 pm

    Yes! The inapt metaphors! How on earth did this book get such good reviews?? The plot is excellent, but what editor let those stinkers through…honestly, wading through those metaphors to get to the end is hard work.

    • whatmeread April 13, 2021 / 11:43 pm

      I didn’t have enough patience to find out about the plot. To me, reading it was horrible. My sister read it and said it was a good idea.

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