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.
“Remember the first time reading Harry Potter and knowing it was something special? There’s that same sense of magic in the introduction of teen Sherlock-in-training Stevie Bell in Maureen Johnson’s series opener….Parallel mysteries unfold with cleverly written dialogue, page-turning brilliance and a young sleuth just as captivating as Hercule Poirot or Nancy Drew.”
– USA Today, ⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of four stars
“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. ⭐ review
“A classic mystery that would make Dame Agatha proud.” -Kirkus Reviews
“The versatile Johnson is no stranger to suspense, and this twisty thriller will leave plenty of readers anxious for more.” -Booklist
“The Agatha Christie-like ecosystem pairs with lacerating contemporary wit, and alternating past and present scenes makes for a multilayered, modern detective story.” – New York Times
“Truly Devious” adds a modern flair to that delicious classic mystery novel-reading experience in which every passage seems rife with potential suspects and clues. – Chicago Tribune
“A great start to a new series.” – Entertainment Weekly
“Fans of puzzles, boarding school stories, and true crime will tear through this book and love every minute.” -School Library Journal
- Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2018
- 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
- Junior Library Guild Selection 2019
- YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Nomination 2019
- ALA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults Nomination
“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