Truly Devious: The Best Mystery Novel Ever


Aishani Ghosh, Writer

I recently read Truly Devious over break, and it has to be by far my new favorite mystery series. The writing was intriguing, and the story was well structured. Going between the past and present, the book explores two mysteries but leaves on a cliffhanger: both mysteries to be continued by the second book in the series, The Vanishing Star (another great book).

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson is about a private academy in Vermont: Ellingham Academy. It’s selective and prestigious, but has a history of murders. The founder of the school, Albert Ellingham, had his wife and child kidnapped and murdered, yet the case was never fully solved. When Stevie Bell, a true crime fan who’s fascinated by the kidnappings that took place at the academy, gets accepted to the school (much to her surprise), she makes it her mission to solve the mystery.

Meanwhile however, another mystery takes place when a beloved classmate and movie star  faces his own death on campus grounds, with an unknown killer. Pulled in both directions, Stevie can’t help but think they’re connected, despite both murders being decades apart.

This book goes back and forth between the past and present, recounting the events of the Ellingham Kidnapping, and Stevie trying to understand it all. I felt this story was so intricately layered and well thought-out. The writing was amazing, and the premise more so. It was suspenseful, interesting, and left me guessing. My only complaint however is that it ends on a cliffhanger so massive it should be illegal – just on the verge of when maybe both mysteries can be solved. Thankfully, I’ve already gotten my hands on the second book so I can continue the series. Nevertheless, I cannot recommend Truly Devious enough, it’s easily the best mystery novel I’ve ever read.