In this Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day (or more aptly Happy Death Day?) escapade, there is a large cast of characters, a remote and crumbling estate, and more than a few secrets, unsavory characters, and murderous intentions to go around.
Turton has crafted an immensely complex and exquisite mystery with an added layer of the supernatural. It isn't enough that the main character is attempting to solve a murder; every morning he wakes up in someone else's body, repeating the day of the murder again, attempting to use what he already knows and what he can glean from this new perspective to put together the pieces of an intricate and twisted plot years in the making.
The first fifty pages or so are a bit difficult as the reader is as swamped as the main character is trying to grasp the situation while being constantly pushed adrift into the strange machinations of a day already progressing according to multiple plans set in motion. But you really just have to keep pushing, because this book becomes such a joy to read.
In true Christie fashion, what really matters in this book is plot. The characters are necessary or course, but this isn't a character-driven story leaning on the emotional drive of people's needs, pasts, and traumas any more than to wonder how they will influence the forward motion of the narrative and how they might be exploited. In this way it is truly a classic mystery.
I will warn you, this is a difficult book to put down. I read this 500+ page book in two sittings. For one, there are so many plot threads and characters, and details that I didn't want to forget anything. For another, it is just so compulsive! The chapters are fairly short, so you don't get bogged down by too much information in each one, but at the same time, you just need to keep reading!
I would be interested if there are any readers out there who were able to solve this mystery on their own before the final conclusion was revealed. I wonder if it's possible, if there are enough clues sprinkled throughout that you could put it all together. Anyone?
I truly applaud Turton for this exquisitely crafted beauty of a book. I can't imagine the strange timeline diagram with string connecting all the characters and important moments he must have had dominating his workspace as he worked on this book—to keep all of this information straight obviously takes a true master of the craft. Perhaps Christie has found a true heir in Turton.
My thanks to Sourcebooks for my copy of this book to read and review.
Associate editor, amateur photdographer, bibliophile, and occasional sleuth.