Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Inside cover blurb:

“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.”

-from publisher


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You know that feeling, when you start a book and automatically know you’re going to love it? I got that with Truly Devious.

A private school for the gifted, a murder mystery from the 30s, secret passageways, secrets galore! Yup, this one had my name written all over it.

I would pack my bags and go to Ellingham Academy right this very moment if I could. There’s an amazing library, tunnels, lots of nooks and crannies to explore. If I can’t go to Hogwarts, I’d settle for Ellingham.

Stevie is fabulous, in fact, all of the characters are distinct and just the right amount of quirky. And if the Ellingham case isn’t enough, we also get a new mystery! I have my theories about both, but I’m definitely still guessing.

My only  problem with it- we still don’t know what happened! Because…wait for it…it’s going to be a TRILOGY.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about that at first, but now I’m just thanking my lucky stars that I get to read more of this story. Something big is happening here and I can’t wait to find out what!

Plus: Love stories, secret histories, spooky mysteries. This book has them all!

Minus: That I won’t get to know the whole story for two more books! But still, I’m looking forward to them.

If you like this book, try:


Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City by Kirsten Miller- An oldie, but a goodie about snooping and sleuthing through the New York Underground. Reading Truly Devious reminded me of this childhood favorite.

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