I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
Genres: YA, Mystery
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on January 16th 2018
Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: The Vanishing Stair
New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson weaves a delicate tale of murder and mystery in the first book of a striking new series, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and E. Lockhart.
Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”
Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.
True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.
The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three.
“The Moose is a Lie,” Stevie Bell said.
Here is what I thought
This was my first book by this author and I am now very intrigued about her other books and I really enjoyed this one.
Stevie loves to study crimes and criminals. She is a total mystery buff and her father says that she fancies herself a Sherlock Holmes. When she finds Ellingham academy and realizes there is a huge mystery there to solve she applies to get in. She is not an artist, a youtube star, writer or anything huge like that but she wants to solve this mystery. Her think is detecting and she knows just about everything about the kidnapping/murder of Iris Ellingham and the murder of Dottie a student during the time of the kidnapping. They never found Alice, Ellingham’s three year old daughter. This all happened in 1937, and throughout the storyline we get chapters that tell about what happened in 1937 and some FBI interviews.
When Stevie arrives at Ellingham she is put into a group called Minerva, in that group is a couple of kids that she has met online, but the rest are new to her. They each are there because they have something they excel at like I mentioned above. Stevie is in awe of Ellingham academy and feels like she has one the prize when her councilor takes her to the attic where they have a lot of Ellingham’s things. She is told that she needs a project, to try and put a human face on the crimes, not to just think of the actual crime. They all know she is there to try and solve the crime. She quickly starts unpacking her little murder board of sorts though it’s in a box. She has all sorts of clippings about the kidnapping and murders. The person responsible called themselves Truly Devious.
Hayes is a youtube star, he wrote and stared in a short series about being in an zombie apocolypse. He wants to do something new and fresh so he ask Stevie if they could work on their projects together. He knew she was looking into the crime so wouldn’t it be cool to do a show about what happened. She agrees and gets Nate, the writer, to help her come up with a script. Then Hayes gets others to help as well and before long it seems to Stevie that everyone is doing everything but Hayes. Then tragedy strikes. Is Truly Devious back or is someone there using the old murderers monicure to get away with murder.
Don’t’ want to get anything away so I won’t go into any more detail. I like Stevie, she is a mystery buff, so she is my kind of gal. I remember when I was her age and loved studying crimes and criminals. Guess I still do. 🙂 Her parents think she is strange and just sort of humor her but she knows they probably wish they had a more normal child. I also enjoyed a lot of the other characters in the story, though I was never a huge fan of Hayes or David. Stevie likes David but I alway felt he was hiding something big.
Though it’s kind of a long one at over 400 pages it read fairly quickly and though at times a bit slow it was still interesting and so I just had to find out what was going on. I knew it was part of a trilogy so I braced myself for a cliffy and it wasn’t a huge one but it still has left me with a I NEED TO KNOW feeling. 🙂 So now I have to try and be patient and wait for the next one. 🙁 This is what sucks about reading a book right when it comes out.
If you like YA mysteries I think you will enjoy this one.