Here’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.
I 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.