The Vanishing Stair

Truly Devious

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Author: Maureen Johnson

The Truly Devious case—an unsolved kidnapping and triple murder that rocked Ellingham Academy in 1936—has consumed Stevie Bell for years, spurring her desire to attend the academy. But after identifying classmate Hayes Major’s murderer, her parents quickly pull her out of school. For her safety, they say. She must move past this obsession with crime.

Stevie’s willing to do anything to get back to Ellingham, even if it means making a deal with despicable Senator Edward King. Returning to school also means returning to King’s son, David: the one she kissed and who lied about his identity. But larger issues are at play. Where did Hayes’s murderer hide away to? What’s the meaning of the riddle Albert Ellingham left behind? And what, exactly, is at stake in the Truly Devious affair? The Ellingham case isn’t just a piece of history—it’s a live wire into the present. The path to truth has more twists and turns than Stevie can imagine, and moving forward could cost someone their life.