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Maureen Johnson

The Vanishing Stair

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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
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309 printed pages
Publication year
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    Виктория Михайловаhas quoted5 months ago
    “There are reasons for everything, even if we don’t know them,” Stevie said. “Motive.”
    Виктория Михайловаhas quoted5 months ago
    Carrying secrets is exhausting work. I know this from experience. The burden seems bearable at first, but as time goes on, it increases in weight. It pulls on you.
    Виктория Михайловаhas quoted5 months ago
    “Do you read much, George?” Albert asked.

    “No,” George replied.

    “You should, you should. Reading is one of the great pleasures of life—maybe the greatest.”

    “You must never have had a Cuban cigar.”

    Albert Ellingham laughed.

    “It’s true. All the money, all the power—none of it compares to a good book. A book gives you everything. It gives you a window into other souls, other worlds. The world is a door. Books are the key.”

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