by Maureen Johnson
So, I finally decided to read a murder mystery novel. I’ve always sort of seen murder mysteries as really complicated stories that don’t make a lot of sense, so I never really paid a lot of attention to them. My opinion of this got reinforced by the heavily censored and simplified version of “The Hound of the Baskervilles” that our school made us read (like it was so obvious! *spoiler* Stapleton was the killer! Like duh……) But then again, I was hardly reading the original version of Sherlock Holmes. So, I decided to give this genre a try. I didn’t really want to read the old classics like Sherlock Holmes or Agatha Christie, so I settled for Truly Devious instead. Truly Devious written by Maureen Johnson is more of a modern-day version of the old detective stories, and it has most definitely changed my mind about this genre. These 450 pages or so take you on a journey through the alternating perspectives of Stevie Bell (the MC) and household members of the 1930’s Ellingham academy (the murder she was investigating). I really liked this sort of format, it made things a lot more understandable and interesting ( even if it made you want to scream every time one perspective ended and the other began so you had to wait for one full chapter to see what happened next in the first perspective, and by the end of that chapter in question you were annoyed that the other perspective ended and that you had to wait for another chapter for its continuation and AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH) But this style of writing really kept you from being bored. Also, it is quite descriptive in everything, from the personality of characters to the design of the campus, but not overly so. I especially liked that the author had described all the architectural design and hidden passages in detail so that you don’t get confused (as all of this features largely in the plot). I fell in love with all the characters of this book – Ellie, Vi, Janelle, Stevie, Hayes, David, Nate and so many more! The ending was truly a shocking reveal and with a cliff hanger that left you begging for more. One that made you think – surely the book wouldn’t end here? – but end it did, and I can’t wait to read the next book! I’m almost sad that the series has only 3 books (and 1 extra story as a separate book) because I LOVE long series like KotLC (it has a lot of books – 8.5 to be exact and with more coming out this year I’M PSYCHED) but anyways – getting off topic……
You’re right there with Stevie as she struggles to solve the murders – the very recent one and the 1930’s one – and it is not glaringly obvious like some books – you honestly don’t know the culprit. Alongside a plot so complex however – normal academy life also goes on, and that makes it extra interesting too. I honestly wish my school was this interesting – but noooooo I get stuck with a totally normal school where homework is the biggest mystery. So if you want to try a murder mystery you should totally try this series. I LOVED ITTT. Don’t get me wrong – fantasy is still my religion – but this may be a close second. I will definitely continue this series and maybe read some other books by this author. Murders may not be so boring after all…….. Awesome!!!!