Parents' Guide to

Nine Liars: Truly Devious, Book 5

By Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Fab English manor mystery; includes heavy teen drinking.

Nine Liars: Truly Devious, Book 5

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Popular teen sleuth Stevie Bell stars in this fresh, hip take on the English-country-manor mystery. Author Maureen Johnson always picks the most iconic settings for her cold cases, first a secluded Vermont boarding school in the original Truly Devious trilogy, then a summer camp in The Box in the Woods. Nine Liars splits its time between London and the manor, between the present and the past. In 2022 Stevie arrives in London on a barely sanctioned school trip -- mostly to see her boyfriend David at his new school. In 1995, college friends arrive at an English manor house to celebrate their graduation for one booze-fueled night, one that ends in a double murder. The two storylines converge when Stevie meets David's friend Izzy, the niece of Angela, one of the old college friends. While it's hard to believe, even with Stevie's well-earned reputation, that she would get roped into an investigation in a foreign country at age 16, that's exactly what happens when Angela goes missing. And she's awfully lucky when Angela's safe full of evidence turns up.

The rest isn't luck, however. When Stevie interrogates her subjects she's all business and focus, when she notices things no one else does, she's brilliant as usual. You know she'll solve the case, but at what cost to her friendships and her love life, and how much trouble is she really in at school? Trips to the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey are on their carefully crafted itinerary, not trips to remote country crime scenes surrounded by possible suspects. Scratch that -- one of the remaining college friends is definitely the murderer. Add to all those stressors the real time crunch Stevie is in. She has to find a missing person and solve the cold case, and have a deeply meaningful night in London with her boyfriend before hopping back on the plane in a few days' time. Readers will be as frantic as Stevie to get to the finish line and find out how it all ends.

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