The Hand on the Wall

by Maureen Johnson
First sentence: “The snow had been falling for hours, drifting past the windows, settling on the sill, forming little landscapes that mimicked the mountains in the distance.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Others in the series: Truly Devious, The Vanishing Stair
Content: There’s some mild swearing and a couple of f-bombs, talk of teenage sex (but none actual). It’s in the Teen section (grades 9+) of the bookstore.

When we last left Stevie and her friends, Ellingham had just been shut down, and her off-campus adviser had just died in a (suspicious) house fire. Stevie had also figured out the nearly century-old disappearance of Alice Ellingham. And now? She’s stuck in the school during a blizzard with a small group of her friends, most of whom are helping David look through stolen documents trying to get dirt on his (shady politician) dad.

But there are still questions left for Stevie left to solve: what about the three current deaths at Ellingham? Are the accident or murder? And where is Alice’s body?

First: I’m glad Johnson finished a series! I really enjoy her writing, and I think she has a gift for storytelling. It’s just that finishing series isn’t something that happens (I got invested in two — Suite Scarlett and Shades of London — that never finished). So, I am super happy that this one had an ending! And it was a very satisfying one.

Second: I think Johnson does have a gift for mysteries. She gave us all the clues — mostly in flashbacks, but also through Stevie’s detective work — to figure out the mystery, but added enough intrigue to keep me interested, at least.

So, a very good ending to a very good series.

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