OMG I made it. After so many weeks of waiting and after so many days of reading I finally finished Maureen Johnson’s Truly Devious.
Stevie Bell has always loved crime. She even hoped to make a career in deducting, some day. But when she sends an essay to the famous Ellingham Academy, her dreams might come true earlier than expected. Nearly seventy years ago, a wealthy man named Albert Ellingham opened a school for talented children, where learning was a game and attending was free, if you got accepted. One year after the school’s opening, Ellingham’s beloved wife and young daughter get kidnapped – with no trace but a riddle from the mysterious “Truly Devious”. In the present, Stevie Bell wishes for nothing more than to finally crack the case no one has ever mastered and she might even get the chance to deduct once more and “Truly Devious” seems to return to her school, with a murder on its way.
I had high hopes concerning this book as so many people wrote great reviews about it and to say fairly: I loved it. But although I loved the book in total, I didn’t love every bit of it. But let’s start with the positive stuff, shall we?
First of all, I very much enjoyed Johnson’s writing style as it wasn’t written too complicated but still on a good level and therefore easy to read. Secondly, I liked the throwbacks where the first “Truly Devious” case from back in 1936 was brought closer to you, with perspectives of the witnesses and interviews by the police.
I also enjoyed the plot of the story and I think a good enough mystery always makes a good page turner. In addition, I liked the concept with the riddles and the whole Truly Devious murderer idea as it’s something different from other stories. Furthermore, I really sympathized with the protagonist, Stevie, who seemed really committed to her goals and her hobbies, who has struggles with her parents, who wants to prove herself and who, on top of all, wants to solve a murder.
Kind of sad was the fact that the book was kind of slow and there wasn’t THAT MUCH happening at first, going up to page 200.
SPOILER, please skip this paragraph if you intend to read this book!
The ending kind of messed up the perfect illusion of the book as Stevie just finds out who Truly Devious is but then just runs outside and discovers that Edward King is David’s dad. I had wished for a little more clearance concerning the murder as I was looking forward to this moment from page one, as anyone, really.
As mentioned in the Spoiler paragraph, I wasn’t quite happy with the book’s ending as it left out – to me – important information. BUT this book will have a sequel and therefore I will try not to drag the book through the dirt this much (just to make clear, I did enjoy the book very much, just the ending not quite) and I’m very excited to read the sequel as soon as it hits the market!