Search
  • unabridgedpod

Maureen Johnson's TRULY DEVIOUS Series - A Satisfying Mystery Trilogy . . . Plus One


Book covers of Maureen Johnson's Truly Devious, The Vanishing Stair, and The Hand on the Wall

by Jen Moyers (@jen.loves.books)


I don't know the last time that I was drawn into a book the way Maureen Johnson's Truly Devious (Amazon | Bookshop.org) drew me in. I quickly got through the rest of my "have-to" reads to devour the next two books in the trilogy (Amazon | Bookshop.org).


Truly Devious runs through two timelines. In the historical timeline, it's 1936, and we're with millionaire Albert Ellingham whose wife and daughter have been kidnapped from their home on the campus of the school that Ellingham started. The main clue is a threatening letter signed by "Truly, Devious." In the other timeline, it's present day, and Stevie Bell has enrolled in Ellingham Academy with a plan to solve the kidnapping (and, ultimately, murder).


I love the way Johnson writes characters—as in her Shades of London series, these are smart, self-aware people who have flaws and strengths, who are sometimes unlikable but always worthy of empathy. The way these two timelines wind together to develop dual mysteries, unveiled through interview transcripts and jotted-down notes, is clever, compelling, and so, so much fun. There's romance, conflict with parents, and the navigation of friendships to work through along the way.


Of course, it's hard to talk about The Vanishing Stair (Amazon | Bookshop.org) and The Hand on the Wall (Amazon | Bookshop.org) without spoilers, but I'll just say that they're just as smart, just as twisty, and just as satisfying as book one. I absolutely love what Johnson does with the Stevie and the rest of the characters, and I found the solutions to all of the mysteries to be so satisfying! (There is a fourth book, a sort of linked standalone, I understand. I'm saving that one—The Box in the Woods [Amazon | Bookshop.org]—to savor.)


#bookreviews #jensreviews #yalit #mystery

(A note to our readers: click on the hashtags above to see our other blog posts with the same hashtag.)

Interested in what else we're reading? Check out our Featured Books page.


Loving what you see here? Please comment below (scroll ALL the way down to comment), share this post using the social media buttons below (scroll down for those as well!), and find us on social media to share your thoughts!

Want to support Unabridged?


Check out our Merch Store!

Become a patron on Patreon.​

Follow us @unabridgedpod on Instagram.

Like and follow our Facebook Page.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Check out our Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Follow us @unabridgedpod on Twitter.

Subscribe to our podcast and rate us on Apple Podcasts or on Stitcher.

Check us out on Podbean.

Please note that we a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. We also are proud to partner with Bookshop.org and have a curated Unabridged store as well as affiliate links.

5 views0 comments