New York Times and USA Today bestseller!
New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson delivers the witty and pulse-pounding conclusion to the Truly Devious series as Stevie Bell solves the mystery that has haunted Ellingham Academy for over 75 years.
Ellingham Academy must be cursed. Three people are now dead. One, a victim of either a prank gone wrong or a murder. Another, dead by misadventure. And now, an accident in Burlington has claimed another life. All three in the wrong place at the wrong time. All at the exact moment of Stevie’s greatest triumph . . .
She knows who Truly Devious is. She’s solved it. The greatest case of the century.
At least, she thinks she has. With this latest tragedy, it’s hard to concentrate on the past. Not only has someone died in town, but David disappeared of his own free will and is up to something. Stevie is sure that somehow—somehow—all these things connect. The three deaths in the present. The deaths in the past. The missing Alice Ellingham and the missing David Eastman. Somewhere in this place of riddles and puzzles there must be answers.
Then another accident occurs as a massive storm heads toward Vermont. This is too much for the parents and administrators. Ellingham Academy is evacuated. Obviously, it’s time for Stevie to do something stupid. It’s time to stay on the mountain and face the storm—and a murderer.
In the tantalizing finale to the Truly Devious trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson expertly tangles her dual narrative threads and ignites an explosive end for all who’ve walked through Ellingham Academy.
Praise for the Truly Devious series:
“Readers, hang tight: there’s one more round to come, and if the signs are right, it’ll be to die for.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The Agatha Christie-like ecosystem pairs with lacerating contemporary wit, and alternating past and present scenes makes for a multilayered, modern detective story.” —New York Times Book Review
“Remember the first time reading Harry Potter and knowing it was special? There’s that same sense of magic in the introduction of teen Sherlock-in-training Stevie Bell.” —USA Today (four stars)
“Be still, my Agatha-Christie-loving beating heart.” —Bustle
About the Author
Maureen Johnson is the bestselling author of several novels, including 13 Little Blue Envelopes, the Truly Devious series, the Suite Scarlett series, and the Shades of London series. She has also written collaborative works such as Let It Snow with John Green and Lauren Myracle and The Bane Chronicles with Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan. Maureen lives in New York and online on Twitter @maureenjohnson or at www.maureenjohnsonbooks.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I was nineteen-years-old when I read Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None for the first time, and I am eternally grateful to my uncle for suggesting it to me. Since then, I recommend it to everyone who's a book lover. I get mixed responses on that recommendation: “But I don't like mystery.” Read And Then There Were None. Trust me. “The book was published so long ago, is it even any good?” Read it (Also, why does the book's age matter?) “Ugh, a book about people stuck in a house? Does anything even happen?” What doesn't happen in that house! Read it and find out. No matter the argument, the novel is still worth the reader's time. Even if it's just to experience the author's talent. The Truly Devious trilogy brought to mind all of the cozy, warm, indulgent vibes that reading Christie's masterpiece gave me years ago. Coming to the end of The Hand on the Wall was bittersweet. Stevie Bell has joined the ranks of my favorite fictional characters. Stevie, with her anxiety, and her obsession with mysteries and crime, and her ability to just zone the world out while she works a whodunit problem in her head. She led this story so well, and seeing her during the last few chapters of The Hand on the Wall, among the others in that Great House, personifying her own version of the incredible Hercule Poirot to bring forth the culprit and present her case just made me...proud. Maureen Johnson's subtle little way of bringing together ten people and sticking them into a house in the middle of a blizzard while a murderer roamed free and they're cut off from everyone else outside of the school was the ideal ode to a classic. From the get-go, we've wanted to know what happened to Alice Ellingham. That has been everyone's goal—both those in-story and the readers'. I wasn't surprised to find out what Alice's outcome really was, though it was still heartbreaking. George Marsh's punishment did not come in the form of Albert and what he did to the two of them on that boat. Marsh's punishment was in finding his own daughter. There is so much sneaking, so many lies, so much weaving to get through so that one finds the truth. But Johnson did a good job of slowly untangling the web for us. That's why mysteries are so much fun: you start at the confounding problem laid out before you, and little by little work your way back to the beginning, learning all the facts as you go. My only complaint from these novels, including the last, is that the pacing is now and again off. Something detracts from the main story that leaves you thinking “Was that really necessary?” In this one, it was the whole debacle with King. It's a nice addition to the overall plot, and it ties up things with at least one character (David, in this case) but it makes you go over this hiccup mid-storytelling that interrupts the otherwise smooth flow. It wrapped up well in the end, but the intrusion of it was not well-placed. Characters are exceptional—I wish I would've had a Nate and Janelle in my life at Stevie's age—the reveal of our modern-day murderer was incredibly satisfying to find (although ever so slightly anti-climatic, again, I feel that this was due to pacing), and the setting... In a story like this, setting is everything. Ellingham Academy with its twists and turns, its history, and how far away from the rest of the world it is, could not have been a better choice. It's a playground for a riddle of this caliber. I'm going to miss these books
Rating: 4.5 Stars I have been hooked on this series since Truly Devious, and I couldn't wait for this finale. If I were to describe this conclusion in three words, I would use: captivating, surprising, and satisfying. All the elements I loved in the first two books were still present in this final chapter, and maybe Johnson even turned it all up a notch or two. I felt like I got to know some of the other characters better in this book. Stevie began to really embrace these people as her own, and in doing so, I got to spend more time with them. But, I didn't only learn more about the present day characters, Johnson revealed a plethora of tidbits about the Ellingham Academy residents from the 1930s, and some details were quite surprising. I felt like Johnson not only maintained that classic whodunit feel of the previous two novels, but rather, she amped it up for this book. The gathering of all the suspects, while they were trapped due to a blizzard, seemed torn from the vintage mystery handbook. I felt a smile spread across my face as it played out in a most gratifying way. But, I came here for answers and resolutions, and you know what? I got them! I discovered the whole, unadulterated truth about Alice (a pretty big surprises there), Stevie figured out how the present day and 1930s murders were connected (this was rather messy and interesting), AND I finally found out what was "always on the staircase, but never on the stair." Stevie was a force, as she had been this whole series, and I will forever keep her on my list of literary favorites. Her wit, her humor, her quirks - I loved them all, and I was thrilled with the ending Johnson gave her. I will miss Ellingham Academy, but I will remember it fondly.
A very satisfying conclusion to a great trilogy! If you enjoy murder mysteries set in boarding schools, then I highly recommend this series.
This was my favorite book of the series (and I enjoyed them all). The setting turned to a snowy winter and it was atmospheric and beautiful. But most importantly I was very satisfied with the way everything was wrapped up. I hope I can find more fun, YA mysteries like this one!
THE HAND ON THE WALL is a thrilling conclusion to the TRULY DEVIOUS series. Here, the students are at Ellingham, and Stevie is still solving the crimes of the 1930s, as well as the more recent seemingly-accidental deaths at the school. Stevie is watching David spiral downward, and sharing Janelle's excitement about her machine. However, things are changing once again, when there is an accident with Janelle's machine, and the professor Stevie was helping with her research on the Truly Devious case dies. Time is ticking as the school is set to shut down and Stevie's time to solve the cases is running out. Bringing together all the events of the past books, this final story wraps up the plots perfectly. Johnson did some miraculous plotting to make it all come together just right in this thrilling conclusion. This book was certainly the fastest in terms of pacing, and it was just the right amount of suspense, glimpses into the past, and Stevie's mind to see how these crimes are solved. This book was every bit as satisfying as I ever could have hoped. The characters are all eccentric but completely grow on you, and I loved seeing the end of their story. I certainly would not mind reading more books with Stevie- she's quite the tenacious investigator, and the way everything fits together is so clever. I do wish there had been either more connections with David or only friendship, as this seems to be an afterthought to the main plot (and romance was not necessary), but he fits into the plot in his own creative way. Overall, this was an absolutely perfect finale to an engaging series. The questions we had have all been resolved, and it is quite satisfying. Please note that I received an ARC. All opinions are my own.