The Truly Devious case—an unsolved kidnapping and triple murder that rocked Ellingham Academy in 1936—has consumed Stevie for years. It’s the very reason she came to the academy. But then her classmate was murdered, and 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, be back with her friends, and solve the Truly Devious case. Even if it means making a deal with the despicable Senator Edward King. And when Stevie finally returns, she also returns to David: the guy she kissed, and the guy who lied about his identity—Edward King’s son.
But larger issues are at play. Where did the murderer hide? 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.
Praise for Book One:
“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
Ginny Blackstone never thought she’d spend her summer vacation backpacking across Europe. But that was before she received the first little blue envelope from Aunt Peg.
This letter was different from Peg’s usual letters for two reasons:
1. Peg had been dead for three months.
2. The letter included $1000 cash for a passport and a plane ticket.
Armed with instructions for how to retrieve twelve other letters Peg wrote—twelve letters that tell Ginny where she needs to go and what she needs to do when she gets there—Ginny quickly finds herself swept away in her first real adventure. Traveling from London to Edinburgh to Amsterdam and beyond, Ginny begins to uncover stories from her aunt’s past and discover who Peg really was. But the most surprising thing Ginny learns isn’t about Peg . . . it’s about herself.
Everything about Ginny will change this summer, and it’s all because of the 13 little blue envelopes.
Look for the sequel, The Last Little Blue Envelope!
Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”
Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.
True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.
The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three.
The Girl: Clio Ford, seventeen, wants to spend the summer smooching her art-store crush, not stuck on a boat in the Mediterranean. At least she'll get a killer tan.
The Mission: Survive her father's crazy antics. Oh, and also find some missing underwater treasure that could unlock the secrets of civilization.
The Crew: Dad's wacky best friend Martin, his bizarre research partner Julia, her voluptuous daughter Elsa . . . and then there's Aidan, Julia's incredibly attractive, incredibly arrogant assistant.
What's going on behind Aidan's intellectual, intensely green eyes, anyway?
As Clio sails into uncharted territory she unveils secrets that have the power to change history. But her most surprising discovery is that there's something deeper and more cryptic than the sea—her own heart.
. . . to find what you're looking for
Ginny Blackstone spent last summer traveling around Europe, following the tasks her aunt laid out in a series of letters before she died. When someone stole Ginny’s backpack—and the last little blue envelope inside—she resigned herself to never knowing how the adventure was supposed to end.
Now a mysterious boy has contacted Ginny from London, saying he’s found her bag. Finally Ginny can finish what she started. But instead of ending her journey, the last letter starts a new adventure, and Ginny finds she must hold on to her wits . . . and her heart. This time there are no instructions.