4 Mysterious Pretzels
You guys, I love a good mystery and after that very ranty review from last week – sorry, when it comes to Weinstein, I get real hot real fast – I thought we all deserved something a little more fun, and the debut novel from Stuart Turton is just that.
Look, I’m pulling this directly from the front jacket because it’s dope and it tells you exactly what you’re about to get into:
The Rules of Blackheath
Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at 11:00 p.m.
There are eight days, and eight witnesses for you to inhabit.
We will only let you escape once you tell us the name of the killer.
Understood? Then let’s begin…
Sounds awesome, right? Eight guests have been invited to Blackheath, an estate that, after a tragedy, the Hardcastle family abandoned. Nineteen years ago, their son was murdered. The culprit was caught, but the original guests have been invited back to Blackheath for a party. The only thing is, our narrator doesn’t remember how or why he is there. Or, for that matter, his own name.
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is like if Agatha Christie and David Lynch teamed up and wrote a book. While dotted with several of the old mystery cliches, there is also an element of weird. And by that I mean our narrator wakes up each morning in the body of another guest. So, yeah, pretty weird. The mystery is so well constructed, though, that even if you are put off by weird – I totally am not – the story works. You get accustomed to the shifting POVs pretty quickly, quicker than Aiden Bishop does, anyway. The poor guy is hella confused for a good chunk of the book.
So, his objective is to solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle and report his findings to the Plague Doctor, that’s totally normal, right? Reader, it is not. But who cares? The problem is, just when he makes some headway, he goes to sleep and wakes up as someone else. It’s a confusing, infuriating cycle to be stuck in, but what fun for the reader!
I’m not going to give anything away because
- That would be rude.
- I am considering this as a book club selection and I don’t want to spoil it for my crew in case I do.
The twists are many, the clues are few. I had no idea how the author was going to wrap this up, but he did so wonderfully. I need someone else to read this so I can talk about it fully, which is why it would make a great book club pick.
For a way less serious mystery, consider our first book Fall: An Ermahgerd Merstery. We’re giving it away. You can grab a copy here.