.

.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Truly Devious - Maureen Johnson

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Dedication (love this!):

For anyone who has ever dreamed of finding a body in the library.  (Raising my hand - me, me, me!)

First Paragraph(s):

April 13, 1936, 6:00 p.m.
You know I can't let you leave...

Fate came for Dottie Epstein a year earlier, in the form of a call to the principal's office.
     It was not her first time there.

My Thoughts:

I liked Maureen Johnson's new book, Truly Devious, very much.  It's the first in a planned mystery trilogy and is a fun YA crime novel.  In the past, I read this author's 'Shades of London' series, which begins with The Name of the Star - based on the Jack the Ripper killings.  Loved it!  Truly Devious is even more fun as it is set on an isolated boarding school campus in Vermont, the Ellingham Academy.  The story contains an unsolved mystery from the 1930's and the Academy has one of the most intriguing curriculums I've ever heard of for the students.  Each person is allowed to study whatever is their passion - art, music, engineering, writing, or, in the case of Stevie Bell, crime solving.  Stevie proposes to solve the Ellingham kidnapping crime.  Maureen Johnson peppers the book with references to classic sleuths and mystery books, which were great to recognize.  The pace is a tiny bit slow in some places, but a first book is often one where we spend time getting to know the characters and set the scene.  One student dies and Stevie is sure that she can use her skills to help solve the case.  So, now that book #1 is completed, I'll definitely be watching for #2.  There's more to find out and time might be running short!  Definitely recommended! 


Blurb:

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.

26 comments:

  1. Although I don't usually read YA fiction I can definitely see the appeal of this one - I have a real weakness for books set in boarding school which hark back to my love of Enid Blyton's Mallory Towers stories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I'm not sure what it is about books set at boarding schools. I certainly never attended a boarding school. LOL

      Delete
  2. I started this one, but set it down to finish off a different book and have yet to pick it back up. I am liking it, but feel like I don't yet know the characters very well. I'm also having a hard time thinking of any of my 6-8th grade students who would enjoy it. Do you think it is more of a YA novel that is geared toward adults?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe more geared to adults, but you know, I'd have read one like this when I was in 6-8 grade. I was reading Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart and other romantic suspense books at that time. I loved the mystery references - like to Christie and other authors.

      Delete
  3. YAY! I am so glad you read it and loved it! I just love how Maureen's voice (at least the one she presents on Twitter) comes through Stevie. It made the story even more fun for me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did like it. Loved the mystery angle and also the kidnapping story. Now I just need #2. Like now. LOL

      Delete
  4. Love this premise and wonder if it wouldn't be a great read for me...and then I could recommend it to the grands! Nothing like a good excuse to read a book with a library and a private school. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should try it, Jenclair. It's written in a more simplistic way, sort of, probably due to the target audience, but I liked it a lot.

      Delete
  5. Ooh! Sounds very good. I think I'll like this one. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just remember that it is filled current day teenagers - just saying...social media and hooking up (that probably dates me) and stuff like that. LOL

      Delete
  6. Ooh this one sounds great. I wish there was more YA fiction set in the 1930s so this is one I'm hoping to try soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, only part of the story is set in the 1930's. Part is of the original kidnapping investigation and part is current day with the main character dealing with a current day death. And school. And maybe a boyfriend. LOL

      Delete
  7. Oh good! I'm so glad to see you liked it. I love the blurb on this but I don't read much YA so I was hesitant. Definitely adding to my TBR.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You might try it and see what you think - or you could wait until the second book in the trilogy is published.

      Delete
  8. Sounds very intriguing. And I like the school setting. Another book to add to my wishlist.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think a lot of us like the school setting. Not sure why, but somehow it's appealing.

      Delete
  9. OMG! I am laughing Kay, at your first line. haha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not necessarily the library where we meet - exactly - LOL!

      Delete
  10. I didn't need to read beyond the dedication to know this book is for me. Thanks for sharing it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can believe that, Catherine! LOL

      Delete
  11. I've kind of gotten away from reading YA fiction but given that this has the whole library setting, well, I am kind of intrigued :) This actually might be a good one for my book group too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was interesting, though remembering that it is meant for the YA set.

      Delete
  12. I don't really read YA mysteries, but probably because of lack of exposure to it. I am glad you enjoyed this one! I may have to check this one out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had fun with it. Looking forward to the next in the trilogy.

      Delete
  13. This one sounds SO good. I'm excited for it. I loved Johnson's Shades of London series, too. It's not finished, though, is it? I hope Johnson goes back to it sometime soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure about the Shades series. I think I heard somewhere that the author had been ill and the series might be at an end. Then she wrote this one, so who know?

      Delete

Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy to hear your thoughts and will respond as soon as I can. Happy Reading!