Truly Devious: A Mystery by Maureen JohnsonTruly Devious: A Mystery by Maureen Johnson

Truly Devious: A Mystery

byMaureen Johnson

Hardcover | January 16, 2018

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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.

Maureen Johnson is the bestselling author of several novels, including 13 Little Blue Envelopes, the Suite Scarlett series, and the Shades of London series. She has also written collaborative works such as Let It Snow with John Green and Lauren Myracle, and The Bane Chronicles with Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan. Time magazine ...
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Title:Truly Devious: A MysteryFormat:HardcoverDimensions:432 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.33 inPublished:January 16, 2018Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062338056

ISBN - 13:9780062338051

Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1) by Maureen Johnson I never for one second thought about putting this book down. I enjoyed reading it. I got caught up in the atmosphere of Ellington Academy and I found Stevie's battle with anxiety completely believable. I have never suffered from anxiety but my mother did and sister does. The way Stevie described how an anxiety or panic attack feels is the way they described them. So for that alone I really enjoyed reading this book.
Date published: 2018-07-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1) by Maureen Johnson I never for one second thought about putting this book down. I enjoyed reading it. I got caught up in the atmosphere of Ellington Academy and I found Stevie's battle with anxiety completely believable. I have never suffered from anxiety but my mother did and sister does. The way Stevie described how an anxiety or panic attack feels is the way they described them. So for that alone I really enjoyed reading this book.
Date published: 2018-07-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable Real Rating: 3.5 Stars "There is nothing so serious as a game." I expected to like this book, and for once, I was right. Whilst this is not my favourite book of all time, and most likely won't end up on my top ten of the year, it was still highly enjoyable. The mystery aspect of this story was something I had looked forward to at first, but after reading in a review that not much was resolved by the end (due to the fact that this is a trilogy), I didn't have the highest of hopes when it came to that. Which was good, because the mystery aspect of this book didn't exactly capture my attention. In fact, what got me invested in this book was its main character, Stevie. First of all, I love that she was so interested in true crime, as it's something quite popular in the real world (think of all the podcasts, oh my) that we still don't see a lot of in fiction. Or at least, in the fiction I've read. On top of that, Stevie felt different from the heroines I'm used to reading about. That doesn't necessarily make her better or worse than the rest, but she does bring a bit of fresh air to my reading. I loved how determined Stevie was, and her passion reminded me of how passionate I would get about things as a teenager. Really, I loved seeing things from her perspective. Had it not been for the romance, I would have most likely given this book four stars. At first, the romance felt very sudden and forced, and I was actually thinking of taking away a whole star because of it. However, it grew on me for some reason, and whilst I'm still not the biggest fan, I'm no longer rolling my eyes at it. All in all, this was a pretty good book, and I'm glad that I read it. I'll be continuing on with the series, and I would recommend this to you if you're into YA mysteries.
Date published: 2018-06-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Dragged Myself Through 400+ Pages For A Cliffhanger Finally, finally I can say I've finished this long-winded mess of a book. I don't understand why Johnson felt the need to stretch this into a trilogy, when she could have cut out half the unnecessary filler in this book, wrapped everything up nicely, and created an intriguing, mind-blowing thriller. Because that's the saddest thing about this book: it had so much potential, and Johnson completely blew it. It did not pick up even in the slightest until the very end. It took three or four tries - and only my sheer inability to DNF a book prevented me from giving up on this one - but I finished it. This was one of my most anticipated releases of 2018, and it was also the most disappointing. However, it did pick up at the end, which is why I've reconsidered my rating and decided to increase it to two out of five stars.
Date published: 2018-05-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What a cliff hanger. I loved it. Maureen did a great job. I am so looking forward to reading the next book. I did not expect the ending of the book. I had what I thought was the people involved and what would happen in the end. Man was I totally wrong. I am so glad that I bought it. Money well spent.
Date published: 2018-02-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Yes! It started off a bit rocky for me, but by 100 pages in I was loving every minute of it. Stevie had great anxiety rep, the mystery was interesting, the characters were all really fun, and I cannot wait for the next book.
Date published: 2018-02-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing mystery Maureen Johnson writes amazing mystery, this one does not disappoint. Pick it up if you haven't already
Date published: 2018-02-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Must read for mystery lovers! Truly Devious is a uniquely written mystery novel in that there is no mystery being solved as much as it being uncovered at the end. The main character of the novel, Stevie is an aspiring detective - she comes to Ellingham, an elite school for prodigies, because she wants to solve a cold case involving the school’s founder’s family. The story takes place in both times - the present where Stevie is going through the case and the newer murder that happens, and in the past, telling us the events leading to and right after the abduction and murder of the founder’s wife and daughter, and a student of the school. The atmosphere of the book is quite rich - it is an isolated boarding school, there is a small pool of students, there are creepy forests and lake craters and secret tunnels. But unlike a regular novel, it doesn’t focus on the mystery; it is about the people that surround the mystery. Stevie’s development is not to look at just the mystery like a puzzle, but look at it from an emotional perspective, too. For the most part of the book, it eschews traditional mystery tropes - there are barely any clues being uncovered, and as a reader, we are not solving the mystery. It felt a bit frustrating at times, not being the one uncovering the mystery along with Stevie, nor being intimate with what she is deducing from it. She also doesn’t look at a crime scene and catalogue what was unusual or anything - in fact, it plays out more like she is trying hard to be detective. But even so, she manages to solve the present murder of one of her classmates. On a character perspective, Stevie provides mental health representation - she has anxiety and has had panic attacks. There are her housemates, who are big mysteries in themselves. There’s the web series star who seems shady and gets murdered. The artist who has no filter, and no awareness of social constraints. The aloof writer who she befriends, and the builder who is her best friend there. There’s the coding prodigy, who for some reason, likes to insert himself into her life. All of their interpersonal relationships are as much a part of the story as the bigger mystery of whodunnit. For a pack of mostly outcasts, they don’t exactly band together either. Overall, it is intriguing, different and certainly has you wanting for more (it ended in a cliffhanger!) so this one is recommended for mystery lovers. Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Katherine Tegen Books, via Edelweiss.
Date published: 2018-01-31

Editorial Reviews

“This read is perfect for those who enjoy twisty, turny plots and a high-stakes mystery.”