Thank the gods of mystery and mayhem, Stevie Bell is back! Spoiler alert: If you have not yet had the pleasure of meeting Stevie, she is the shining detective star of four previous mysteries: Truly Devious, The Vanishing Stair, The Hand on the Wall and The Box in the Woods. While you CAN read Nine Liars as a stand alone, your reading experience would be much enhanced by starting with Truly Devious and reading your way through all of Stevie’s preceding marvelous misadventures in investigation (which I have had the great fortune to review elsewhere.) In this fifth offering, Stevie is morosely schlepping her way through senior year at the eclectic Ellingham Academy, trying to work up enthusiasm for anything other than detective work. What makes matters worse is that her brilliant boyfriend David is studying abroad this semester in England, leaving Stevie not only bored but a little bit heartbroken as well. That’s why she jumps at the chance to visit him for a week of cultural study in London, which naturally also includes getting involved in a double-murder cold case. (MJ fans will recognize the familiar London backdrop as the setting for her supernatural series, Shades of London) When David’s friend Izzy implores Stevie to look into a double axe murder that took place while her aunt, along with her eight artsy college friends, were staying in famous British country house back in 1995, Stevie can’t resist. After all, “Once you start thinking about murder by axe, you tend to keep thinking about murder by axe.” Soon she is embroiled in a web of lies and deceit as she slowly realizes that the murderer is among the seven surviving friends. Can she identify the killer before they strike again? This latest addition to the series is just as absorbing and intriguing as its predecessors, as each one more firmly establishes Stevie Bell as the reigning YA sleuth of the century! As you can tell, I’m a BIG fan and I know you will be too after checking out Nine Liars from you local library or bookstore.