Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson is the perfect mystery to kick off your fall! The story takes place at Ellingham Academy, a private school for gifted students to explore their interests in things like science, music, and language. It is also the home of one of the most famous cold cases in American history: the Ellingham kidnappings, otherwise known as the Truly Devious Case. Stevie Bell loves true-crime and when she gets accepted to Ellingham Academy she is determined to solve the old case. It is a normal start to the school year until death and mystery come to the Academy again. Stevie is also determined to solve this new case, but is it possible that both cases could be connected? That’s for you to figure out.
This book is a super fun YA mystery! Maurene Johnson does an excellent job of giving you just enough information to make you feel like you’re on to something but not enough to figure out who did it. The cast of characters are super relatable and the book gives an accurate depiction of trying to balance personal interests alongside school work loads. The story is told from two time periods, the modern day with Stevie trying to solve the case and the lead up and aftermath of the Elligham Mysteries. There are many different narrators so you get to hear many different perspectives on both time periods! Even though the two stories are almost entirely separate each one plays off each other nicely and does not get in the way of the other story. The two books that come after (The Vanishing Stair and The Hand on the Wall) are also well written and do a great job of keeping the mystery alive. Each book feels like a smooth continuation of the last one with enough action to keep you invested. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery to solve!
You can find the entire Truly Devious series wherever books are available. They are also available in audiobook form.