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The vanishing stair
2019
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When Stevie Bell is finally able to return to Ellingham Academy after identifying the culprit in the murder of a classmate, she begins to wonder if the case was really resolved and attempts to uncover the truth about the school's founder. - (Baker & Taylor)

Pulled out of Ellingham Academy by her overprotective parents, aspiring detective Stevie Bell makes a deal with the despicable Edward King in hopes of reuniting with her friends and solving the Truly Devious case. 75,000 first printing. Simultaneous eBook. - (Baker & Taylor)

New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller!

In New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson’s second novel in the Truly Devious series, there are more twists and turns than Stevie Bell can imagine. No answer is given freely, and someone will pay for the truth with their life.

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

- (HARPERCOLL)

Flap Cover Text

WHERE DO YOU LOOK FOR SOMEONE WHO’S NEVER REALLY THERE?

The Truly Devious case—an unsolved kidnapping and triple murder that rocked Ellingham Academy in 1936—has consumed Stevie Bell for years. It’s the very reason she came to the academy. But then her classmate Hayes Major was murdered, and though she identified his killer, her parents quickly pull her out of school. For her safety, they say.

Stevie’s willing to do anything to get back to Ellingham, be with her friends, and solve the 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, the guy she’s conflicted about at all times, and the guy who lied about his identity—Edward King’s son. But larger issues are at play. Was Hayes’s death really solved? Where did his 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 the truth has more twists and turns than Stevie can imagine, and moving forward involves hurting someone she cares for. In New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson’s second novel in the Truly Devious series, someone will pay for the truth with their life.

- (HARPERCOLL)

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