Fast Facts

Title: Truly Devious
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publication date: January 16, 2018
Genre: Mystery
Recommended for: 12+
Rating: 5/5

Truly Devious is a 2018 mystery novel at a boarding school following a teen detective/true crime fan Stevie Bell. Stevie, a teen obsessed with researching crimes, is accepted into an elite boarding school (Ellingham academy), where students have the opportunity to research their unique interests. Ellingham Academy also had a very famous murder/kidnapping case (called Truly Devious case ) many years prior; A case with which Stevie is ambitiously trying to solve. However, as she begins her school year and investigates the case, more death strikes campus. Stevie must unravel both the truly devious murders and the most recent crime and bring justice to the school.

This book is an excellent choice for readers who enjoy boarding school stories (like Harry Potter ), mysteries, and true crime. This book uses many references to other crime media (like Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes, and true crime TV). Because the character herself is aware of the tropes in these genres, it makes the mystery all the more enjoyable. You wonder which tropes the author will choose to uphold and which she will choose to invert. The story is told in two time periods: the present day narrated by Stevie and the time of the Ellingham murders, which is told through interviews and transcripts. Multiple periods and styles keep the audience engaged and trying to solve the mysteries.

Overall, the use of intertextuality (referencing other media) and suspense makes this book an excellent choice for people who enjoy intelligent mystery stories. I recommend this book for fans of Ally Carter, One of Us is Lying, The Mysterious Benedict Society, or Knives Out(film).

-Allison