Truly Devious
by Johnson, Maureen






A first entry in a new series by the best-selling author of 13 Little Blue Envelopes introduces sharp and funny detective Stevie Bell, whose first year at an elite boarding school finds her unraveling two mysteries, including one from the school's past and one in the present. 75,000 first printing. Simultaneous eBook.





Stevie Bell's deepest wish is to see a dead body. A true-crime aficionado and aspiring detective, she wanted to come to Ellington Academy for one reason: it's the site of one of the most infamous unsolved kidnappings in the world. Founded by the wealthy, generous Albert Ellington, the private school is an academic haven where learning is playful. But in the 1930s, Ellington's wife and young daughter were kidnapped, held for ransom, and then, presumably, murdered; the true perpetrator, who left enigmatic letters signed "Truly, Devious," was never found. Stevie is determined to solve the crime, but her new housemates have secrets of their own, and her wish may come true sooner, and more frighteningly, than she ever wanted it to. Johnson (The Name of the Star, 2011) 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. Invested readers, never fear-this is just the first in a series. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The versatile Johnson is no stranger to suspense, and this twisty thriller will leave plenty of readers anxious for more. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.





Students attend the prestigious Ellingham Academy for myriad reasons, but all are geniuses, here to study that about which they're most passionate.Stephanie "Stevie" Bell studies crime, and there's no better place to do this than where, in 1936, one of the nation's most notorious crimes occurred. The wife and daughter of millionaire and school founder Albert Ellingham went missing. The only clue was a malicious, Dorothy Parker-style rhyme signed "Truly, Devious." Although an innocent man was convicted of the kidnappings and the murder of Mrs. Ellingham (their daughter was never found), the crime was never truly solved. Stevie is obsessed with getting to the bottom of this decades-old case, and the crimes are made all the more real when one of her housemates is murdered and someone who calls themselves "Truly Devious" peremptorily claims responsibility. There's a comfortable and realistic diversity among the characters. Stevie's STEM genius friend Janelle is a "girl of color" and a lesbian. A white female teacher has a shaved head and unshaven legs, and minor characters include a Muslim girl and an (assumed-white) girl in a wheelchair. Stevie herself is white and struggles with depression and anxiety, illnesses that have no easy answers but which are represented here with truth and compassion. 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. (Mystery. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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