The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson

The final volume in the Truly Devious trilogy…

Themes: murder mystery, romance, private school, academia

The review

I’m so glad I finally finished this series and at a season of the year which is perfect since this time we see the Ellingham Academy under the snow!

Stevie was still Stevie, David a jerk and Nate my favourite. Stevie got on my nerves by being more focused on David than on the mystery which is supposed to be her passion but fortunately, she becomes again the detective we met in Truly Devious towards the end. Still linked to David, I was upset by the fact that the middle of the book is dedicated to his issues (I couldn’t care less) and not to the Ellingham case. Yet, the end was what I wanted with a focus on the case and on the school, with the discoveries of others of its secrets. I loved the fact that the resolution takes place behind closed doors, during a snowstorm, so in a very atmospheric setting. To be read during a cold night…

And now the main topic of this book: the resolution. Well, I loved it too and didn’t see it coming! It was far-fetched but very logical, all the clues given since the beginning finally made sense. It was sad to see this family and their friends destroyed just for a bit of money.

In brief: clearly, a very good series if you like murder mysteries. The only complaints I have are first the 1936 chapters which were not very useful in the 2nd and 3rd volumes and kept us from discovering more about and with Stevie. The second one is that I would have loved to have more about the school and a resolution more centred around its discovery and the ones of documents… Despite these points, it remains one of my favourite read of the year and one I’ll definitively read again in the future!

My rating: 4,5/5

Trigger warnings: murder, panic attacks/anxiety

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