Truly Devious: Book summary and reviews of Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Truly Devious

A Truly Devious Series Mystery #1

by Maureen Johnson

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson X
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published in USA  Jan 2018
    432 pages
    Genre: Mysteries

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

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.

Read a Sample

Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Jumping between past and present, Johnson's novel is deliciously atmospheric, with a sprawling cast of complex suspects/potential victims, surprising twists, and a dash of romance." - Publishers Weekly

"Johnson 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. The versatile Johnson is no stranger to suspense, and this twisty thriller will leave plenty of readers anxious for more." - Booklist

"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." - Kirkus

"Stevie Bell is a dyed-in-the-wool true-crime buff…a smart, relatable, self-aware protagonist. Fans of puzzles, boarding school stories, and true crime will tear through this book and love every minute." - School Library Journal

"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

The information about Truly Devious shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Maureen Johnson Author Biography

Photo: Heather Weston

Maureen Johnson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

She was always one of those reading and writing kids. After a little dalliance with astronomy and archeology, she declared her intention to become a writer at the age of eight or nine or so.

She attended an all-girl Catholic prep high school. She graduated from the University of Delaware where she was a writing major, but spent most of my time working on shows. After college, she became the literary manager of a wonderful (but now defunct) Philadelphia theater company. Soon after that, she moved to New York to study theatrical dramaturgy and writing at Columbia University School of the Arts.

Her first book, The Key to the Golden Firebird, came out in May 2004.

While on a writing fellowship in Edinburgh, Scotland, where ...

... Full Biography
Link to Maureen Johnson's Website

Other books by Maureen Johnson at BookBrowse
  • 13 Little Blue Envelopes jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more mysteries...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: Educated
    Educated
    by Tara Westover
    Voted 2018 Best Nonfiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Tara Westover had the kind of ...
  • Book Jacket: Circe
    Circe
    by Madeline Miller
    Voted 2018 Best Fiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Towards the end of Madeline Miller...
  • Book Jacket: Children of Blood and Bone
    Children of Blood and Bone
    by Tomi Adeyemi
    Voted 2018 Best Young Adult Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    What would you do if, in a ...
  • Book Jacket: Where the Crawdads Sing
    Where the Crawdads Sing
    by Delia Owens
    Voted 2018 Best Debut Novel Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Where the Crawdads Sing was a ...

See all Award Winners & Top 20

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Unsheltered
by Barbara Kingsolver

A timely novel that explores the human capacity for resiliency and compassion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    A Ladder to the Sky
    by John Boyne

    A seductive, unputdownable psychodrama following one brilliant, ruthless man.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

The 7 ½ Deaths of
Evelyn Hardcastle

"Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day...quite unlike anything I've ever read." - A. J. Finn

Enter

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay: $400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.