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Truly Devious

By Maureen Johnson


Looking for a fabulous murder-mystery trilogy set in an elite high school following two timelines with lovable characters and fascinating, intricate mysteries? You've come to the right place!

Genres: Contemporary/Historical Fiction/Mystery

Recommended Age Level: 13+


Rating: 5/5


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.

A Review

This is a fabulous series! The author perfectly balances fascinating murder mysteries and life-or-death puzzles (without being gory) with lovable and diverse characters, and it is so much fun to follow Stevie as she dives headfirst into Ellingham Academy's dangerous history of trouble. The dual timeline also enhances the story by providing the reader with some information that Stevie doesn't have and reminding the reader that these characters were real and not just some names on old newspapers. It is fascinating to watch as the past and current timelines weave themselves together to create one big tapestry of mystery. If you are looking to get into reading mystery novels or already love them, this is an amazing place to start!

Similar Recommendations

The Vanishing Stair, The Hand On The Wall by Maureen Johnson (the rest of the trilogy)

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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