Book Review – Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

truly deviousEllingham 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.


My rating: Cyan-Full starCyan-Full starCyan-Full starCyan-Full starCyan-Half star

Oh my gosh. I love a murder mystery and this is no different! What a fantastic read, I just raced through it.

In many ways not a lot actually happens, and we definitely don’t get the overall solve (though I guessed that going in as it is a trilogy), but I adored what we do get. I liked Stevie and her approach to things, her curiosity. I liked that it was plausible that she was figuring these things out and the cops weren’t, as well – it’s all small things and not just shoddy police work.

Her character development was mostly away from the mystery, as were her friendships, but I don’t think that detracted from it all. It’s well done, even if it does make it a little bit of a slow start action wise. I still couldn’t put it down so something was obviously working for me!

David was definitely my least favourite character, I wanted to smack him for being such a liar all the time, over little things. And I’m definitely keen to find out what happens next with him, given the ending! Same with Ellie really. Her character didn’t really get through to me, but I still need to know.

And then the mystery – love the ending cliffhanger not being what I thought, and not telling us ANYTHING. And by love I mean I may now spend the next few months trying to sell my soul to read book 2. I like Nate being all sensible. I neeeeeeeeeeeeeed to know exactly what Stevie found. Just more. Now. Please???

Definitely a 4.5 star read for me!


Buy Truly Devious at Amazon UK (affiliate link)

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