Books | Young Adult Fiction / Mysteries & Detective Stories
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
Community ReviewsSee all
"This is a fantastic murder mystery especially if you decide not to read the description. All you really need to know is that Stevie who wants to be a detective gets into a famous school where a murder happened which she wants to solve. But of course the back includes more than that which kinda spoils it in my opinion. I didn’t read the back and it ended up being a very surprising twist. Theres many twists in this book, its what made me like it so much. Now im going to get into some spoilers so stop reading if you haven’t read the book. I absolutely need to read the next book as soon as possible. I want David, and Stevie to start working together to solve this. I actually stopped liking him mid book when he completely shut Stevie out until she actually solved part of it. Like why couldn’t they have just talked about it and set boundaries. I get it she broke his trust but they hardly even knew each other so I don’t think there was that much trust anyway. It just makes me think there was something else other than his father that he was hiding. Then Nate is such a good friend even tho he didn’t seem like it in the beginning. He was there for Stevie when he knew she wasn’t acting right. My favorite characters are Nate and David even tho I just said all that about him. Overall hes still a good guy."
"Going between the 1936 timeline and the present day, I was hooked from the beginning. Ellingham Academy is famous for a kidnapping and triple murder that is still unsolved. Stevie Bell is determined to solve it after 80 years of it being cold. I should mention the school has tunnels, dark secrets, far too many statues, and technically belongs to a long presumed dead Alice Ellingham who disappeared at three years old. Also, that's not even half the drama of high school. Love it. Already on book 2."