If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll know how much I love a good who dunnit, and the Truly Devious series by Maureen Johnson is one of my favorites. (You can read my reviews on the other two here and here.) I've been eagerly awaiting the last installment, The Hand on the Wall, so I could finally get the closure I needed on the Ellingham case. I'm happy to say, it did not disappoint.
|Pub Date: 1-21-20|
YA - Mystery
Stevie Bell is the resident teen detective at the remote Vermont school for the gifted, Ellingham Academy. Back in the 1930s the school garnered quite a reputation after one student was killed, and the wife and daughter of the founder, Albert Ellingham, were kidnapped. Iris Ellingham was eventually found murdered, but the whereabouts of little Alice was never discovered. It was the cold case of the century, until Stevie solved it.
After every major breakthrough Stevie had in the case, it seemed another death came to Ellingham and the surrounding area. Now, after the third death took the life of her mentor, and fellow Ellingham murder conspiracy theorist, Stevie is convinced someone is trying to cover their tracks. When a massive snow storm leads to an evacuation of the school, Stevie decides it's the perfect opportunity to catch a killer. With the help of her friends, Stevie pieces together the clues that connect the three deaths in the past to those in the present, and finally uncovers the truth behind the Truly Devious murders.
You know how there are times when you're reading a mystery, and you finally get to the big reveal, and it's just so unsatisfying? This was definitely not the case here. I loved the way Johnson wrapped it all together, and was really able to tie all the loose ends up. Despite trying my best to ferret out the clues between all the books, I had no idea who the culprit was, and I felt just as shocked as everyone else when Stevie was revealing it all in her big "Ah-ha!" moment. Like the other books, we get to see snippets from the past, and I'm always so impressed with how seamlessly Johnson weaves those in as to not detract or make the rest of the story feel disjointed. My only slight issue was that I don't love the romance between Stevie and David, but that's just because I don't really like him as a character. That aside, if you're looking for a fast-paced, binge-able mystery series, check this one out.