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Truly Devious

Truly Devious

A Mystery

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About the Book

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.

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

“Jumping between past and present, Johnson’s novel is deliciously atmospheric, with a sprawling cast of complex suspects/potential victims, surprising twists, and a dash of romance. As in her Shades of London books, Johnson remains a master at combining jittery tension with sharp, laugh-out-loud observations.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Johnson deftly twists two mysteries together—Stevie’s investigation is interspersed with case files and recollections from the Ellington kidnapping—and the result is a suspenseful, attention-grabbing mystery with no clear solution. The versatile Johnson is no stranger to suspense, and this twisty thriller will leave plenty of readers anxious for more.” —Booklist

“The story raises more questions than answers, leaving readers hoping Johnson has another entry up her clever sleeves. A classic mystery that would make Dame Agatha proud.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Stevie Bell is a dyed-in-the-wool true-crime buff…a smart, relatable, self-aware protagonist. Fans of puzzles, boarding school stories, and true crime will tear through this book and love every minute.” —School Library Journal

“An intricately plotted, compulsively readable novel that explores not only fascinating crimes but also the mysteries of anxiety, the creative process, contemporary fame, and so much else.” —John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars and Turtles All the Way Down

“Maureen Johnson has a totally original mind, a passionate set of moral convictions, an extraordinary sense of bravery and ridiculousness, and she writes pretty sentences.  Read whatever she writes.” —E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars and Genuine Fraud

Praise for Shades of London: “Creepy, tense and wonderful: Don’t expect to put this down once it’s begun.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Praise for 13 Little Blue Envelopes: “Readers will find Ginny an excellent traveling companion. This is equal parts poignant, funny and inspiring, with a delicious fairytale ending.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062338051
  • ISBN 10: 0062338056
  • Imprint: Katherine Tegen Books
  • On Sale: 01/16/2018
  • Pages: 432
  • List Price: 21.99 CAD
  • BISAC1: YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Mysteries & Detective Stories
  • BISAC2: YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Ghost Stories
  • BISAC3: YOUNG ADULT FICTION / School & Education / Boarding School & Prep School

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

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