Originally published: Feb 2018
Author: Stuart Turton
Set in: Blackheath House
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Page count: 512
Reading dates: 20-26 Apr 2018
Star Rating: 3/5
A man wakes up in a forest, calling out the name Anna. Hearing cries for help he believes he has witnessed a crime. The trouble is he appears to be suffering from memory loss and he has no idea who he is. He makes his way through the forest to the estate of Blackheath where he is identified as Sebastian Bell and he discovers preparations for a party to be held in the honour of Evelyn Hardcastle, the daughter of Helena and Peter Hardcastle who has returned from Paris after many years.
But then everything gets turned on its head when we discover that the body of Sebastian Bell is in fact being inhabited by Aiden Bishop, who soon finds out the only way to leave Blackheath is by discovering who murders Evelyn Hardcastle. The loop continues for 8 days – each day Aiden wakes up in someone else’s body with the memories of the person from the day before. He must solve the murder within the 8 days or the loop resets and he has to start from scratch with no previous memories to help him.
Set in the 1920s, it’s interesting to hear the narrator’s thoughts as he inhabits different bodies (most who are not very nice people) and starts to take on the personalities of the different characters.
Described as a mashup of an Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmes mystery with a bit of Groundhog Day thrown in this is certainly a very clever book. I was grateful for the list of characters at the beginning (a lot of names seem to start with “D”) and I had to refer to it often to keep track. The detailed map of Blackheath was also great!
For me it was a bit long and I found it hard work at times – it worked best when I was able to read for longer periods. However, I’m glad I stuck with it for the unexpected and dramatic ending. An extremely difficult book to write and I commend the author his achievement!