The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious #2) by Maureen Johnson

In book two of the Truly Devious series, Stevie’s return to Ellingham Academy comes at a price. Her benefactor, the abhorrent politician Edward King whom her parents idolize, wants her back at the school in order to keep an eye on his wayward son, noting that her relationship with his kid seems to calm the latter down. Stevie is desperate to return and doesn’t know how to tell David the truth, but schoolwork and an internship with a scholar on the mysteries of the Academy soon have her preoccupied otherwise, at least till she and David discover what happened to the person Stevie accused in the last book of wanting their murdered housemate dead.

I had a bunch of issues with the first book, the series’ namesake, because it didn’t solve for any of the mysteries it brought up, but The Vanishing Stair avoids that problem with aplomb. I did guess who was responsible for the kidnappings fairly early on in the proceedings, but I’m still rather stumped as to who might have murdered Stevie’s housemate. I do believe that David knows whodunnit and is trying to call out the killer via the video he posted, but I’m not sure whether or not he was involved with the arson at the end. I have the sneaking suspicion that Stevie’s housemate was killed for getting too close to the truth of Alice’s disappearance, and that someone on the board wants to keep the reward money sequestered for the school — at least until the 90-year reward period is over — but I haven’t the slightest idea who and, of course, you may come to different conclusions. All I know is that I’ll be mad if Larry had anything to do with it because his relationship with Stevie is awesome.

Anyway, very strong second installment of a teens-solving-crimes-at-boarding-school mystery series. Hopefully, the third book continues this trend of exponential improvement and blows me out of the water!

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