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.
Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2018 * Junior Library Guild Selection * 2019 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Nomination * 2019 ALA's Best Fiction for Young Adults Nomination * Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books 2018 * Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Young Adult Fiction 2018 * 2018 Nerdy Book Club Young Adult Winner * Seventeen Best YA Book of 2018 * Lincoln Award Nominee * 2020-2021 South Carolina Book Awards Nominee * 2020 Pennsylvania Young Readers' Choice Award Winner
- ISBN-13: 9780062338051
- ISBN-10: 0062338056
- Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
- Publish Date: January 2018
- Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Page Count: 432
- Reading Level: Ages 14-17
The murderer in the school hall
Stevie Bell is a true-crime aficionado— a hyper-focused FBI hopeful who also happens to be well-versed in the Ellingham Academy murders. In 1936, Albert Ellingham, the Vermont boarding school’s rich founder, lost his wife and daughter in a bizarre kidnapping and ransom scheme. Many books have been written about the case, and theories about the identity of the killer, Truly Devious (named for the moniker left on a strange riddle), abound, but no one has solved the crime. Seventeen-year-old Stevie thinks she can, and when she’s admitted to the prestigious Ellingham, she makes the murders her student project. But how does a teenage girl solve a case that has stumped criminologists for decades? And when Truly Devious inexplicably starts killing again, how will Stevie not only survive a burgeoning social life at school but also outsmart a murderer intent on making her the next victim?
Maureen Johnson, the bestselling author of the Shades of London series, is a lively storyteller who has crafted a page-turning puzzle filled with dynamic characters. In this first book of a new series, readers will identity with one of her well-drawn characters: Stevie, who suffers from anxiety; Janelle, the exuberant engineer focused on academics and not her love life; Nate, the fantasy author with writer’s block; or Ellie, the artist comfortable in her own skin. Murder sets up the story, but Stevie and her friends make this reading experience truly delightful.