Can people change? If they can, will they?
On its face, The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton is a murder mystery. Aiden Bishop wakes up in a forest with a single name on his mind and no memory of who he is or how he got there. He learns through the day that he is tasked with finding the murderer of Evelyn Bishop and that he has eight chances to solve the case. He will relive the day of her murder eight times, as eight different people. If he fails, he’ll begin again, with no memory of whatever has come before.
How much of what we know about ourselves comes from the people around us?
Bishop has no memory of who he was before he woke up at Blackheath and each day he sees his own actions, and those of his fellow guests, from a different perspective. He is reliant on his fractured memories of what happens to his hosts and what he is told by the people he thinks he can trust. As he sees each action he takes from actually taking it, then by how it affects those around him in ever increasing ripples, Bishop asks if people can change, will they change, given the opportunity and what can they actually change.
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was one of the more unusual books I’ve read in awhile. I enjoyed it a great deal and if a blend of Life After Life, Quantum Leap and Agatha Christie sounds intriguing, this may be the book for you.