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.
I was in the mood for a murder mystery – so I turned to Maureen Johnson’s Truly Devious, a YA mystery about a true crime enthusiast and wannabe detective named Stevie who dreams of solving a famous kidnapping. But there are strange things afoot in the present day – a fellow student is murdered.
I read Truly Devious a few years ago, but picked it up again recently so I could read the trilogy all the way through. And I read all 3 books in a matter of days (book 3, in just one day!). In some ways, this is a review for the trilogy as a whole – but no spoilers, I promise! Any details I’ve shared pertain only to Book 1. 😉
There were so many things to love about these books:[Read more…]