Vanguard Spotlight Book of the Month: December 2022: Staff

Monthly Reads from ASU-Beebe Students, Faculty and Staff.

ASU-Beebe Employee Favorites

Each month Abington Library will feature a favorite book from a faculty, staff member, or student. They will give a brief synopsis of their chosen book.

Featured ASU-Beebe Staff Member: Dr. April Martin

April Martin

About Dr. Martin

Dr. April Martin is the Registrar at ASU-Beebe.

About the Book

Review of “The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle”

by Dr. April M. Martin, Registrar

            While searching on Amazon for a book to read and review for the Vanguard Spotlight Book of the Month, I ran across “The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle”.  Described as an Agatha Christie-esque mystery in the style of Quantum Leap meets Groundhog Day, I was immediately intrigued.  Quantum Leap was one of my favorite TV shows growing up and I love the movie Groundhog Day.  What an interesting idea to put the two of them together!  The front cover, designed with art deco colors, font, and geometric shapes, also drew me in because I am a big fan of art deco architecture and art.   

            When I started reading, I read off and on for a few weeks, but once the story started taking shape, I could not put this book down.  The book is set in the 1920s at a remote British countryhouse, the Blackheath estate.  The main character, Aiden Bishop, wakes up in a nearby forest with no memory of who he is or how he arrived there, trapped in a stranger’s body.  A masked individual soon appears and explains that a big party will be held at Blackheath that evening and a young woman will be murdered.  Aiden will relive the same day eight times, every morning waking up in a different attendee’s body.  His mission is to get to know the hosts, guests, and staff at Blackheath so that he can reveal the murderer’s identity.  Only then will he break free of the time loop and return to his normal life and identity.  As each day unfolds, Aiden finds himself encountering many characters at the estate.  He has several enemies working against him and also some individuals who claim to be his allies, but who can he really trust?  Switching bodies every day allows Aiden to experience the day’s events from different perspectives which aids him in revealing the murderer.  Definitely an exciting and complex ride!   

            Things I enjoyed about the book:

  • There are a million moving parts to this story, and I feel that the author did a skillful job of putting all of the pieces together.
  • Twists and turns, twists and turns.  Just when I had something figured out, the story went into a new, unexpected direction.
  • The author did a great job with character development.  Aiden jumps in and out of eight individuals with different backgrounds, personalities, and motivations.

            Things that I did not enjoy as much:

  • There is a large number of characters to remember, but the party invitation the author includes at the beginning of the book is a good reference for keeping track of them all.
  • I feel that the author could have done much more with the ending.  I found it underwhelming.

I recommend “The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle”.  I was so engaged with the story that I went through it pretty quickly.  I plan on going back and re-reading to catch all of the little details and clues that I missed the first time.

ISBN 1492657964

Stuart Turton (Author)

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