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The Vanishing Stair: 06/29/19

The Vanishing Stair

The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson is the second in the Truly Devious YA mystery trilogy. Stevie Bell at the end of the first book went home, shamed by her involvement of the death of a student and the disappearance of another. Now out of the blue, the wealthy and powerful father of another student, David, invites her back with the caveat that she keep his son out of trouble.

It doesn't take Stevie long to settle back into her favorite obsession — investigating the Ellingham mystery (a kidnapping and murder). Now, though, she has the support of a nearby university professor. She has a list of things to research and questions to answer.

Stevie's investigation compounded by David's encouragement leads to the answer to what happened to the student who disappeared. It also leads to more questions and more danger for everyone involved.

Like the first book, this one sits on the road narrative spectrum. In fact it sits in the same spot as Truly Devious (2017). Both sit at 66CCCC.

Stevie and the other students continue to be marginalized (66) by their age and by their remote location. Stevie even though she has adult help now, still needs to ask for rides or rely on the shuttle into town.

With the modern day mysteries still tied heavily to the original crimes, the overall destination is uhoria (CC). That is a destination out of time — out of sync with the "present" timeline of the traveler's narrative. This uhoria is presented through Stevie's research as well as the flashback chapters and historical documents.

The route remains the maze. In this case, the school itself is the maze. It's rife with tunnels and secret passages. With the deaths in the past and the deaths in the present, it's clear these tunnels and whatnot are dangerous. It's that very real threat of violence, of death, that makes the school a maze instead of a labyrinth.

The final book is The Hand on the Wall which will be released January 21, 2020.

Five stars

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