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Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson Read Online (FREE)

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Read Truly Devious (Truly Devious Series #1) by Maureen Johnson online free here.

April 13, 1936, 6:00 p.m.

 You know I can’t let you leave. . . .

FATE CAME FOR DOTTIE EPSTEIN A YEAR EARLIER, IN THE FORM OF A call to the principal’s office.

It was not her first time there.

Dolores Epstein wasn’t sent for any of the normal reasons—fighting, cheating, failing, absence. Dottie would get called down for more complicated matters: designing her own chemistry experiments, questioning her teacher’s understanding of non-euclidian geometry, or reading books in class because there was nothing new to be learned, so the time might as well be spent doing something useful.

“Dolores,” the principal would say. “You can’t go around acting like you’re smarter than everyone else.”

“But I am,” she would reply. Not out of arrogance, but because it was true.

This time, Dottie wasn’t sure what she had done. She had broken into the library to look for a book, but she was pretty sure no one knew about that. Dottie had been in every corner of this school, had worked out every lock and peered in all the cupboards and closets and nooks. There was no malicious intent. It was usually to find something or just to see if it could be done.

When she reached the office, Mr. Phillips, the principal, was sitting at his massive desk. There was someone else there as well—a man with salt-and-pepper hair and a marvelous gray suit. He sat off to the side, bathed in a striped beam of sunlight from the window blinds. He was just like someone from the movies. He actually was someone from the movies, in a way.

“Dolores,” Mr. Phillips said. “This is Mr. Albert Ellingham. Do you know who Mr. Ellingham is?”

Of course she did. Everyone did. Albert Ellingham owned American Steel, the New York Evening Star, and Fantastic Pictures. He was rich beyond measure. He was the kind of person you might imagine would actually be on money.

“Mr. Ellingham has something wonderful to tell you. You are a very lucky girl.”

“Come sit down, Dolores,” Mr. Ellingham said, using an open hand to indicate the empty chair in front of Mr. Phillips’s desk.

Dottie sat, and the famous Mr. Ellingham leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees and bringing his large, suntanned hands together in a knot. Dottie had never seen anyone with a suntan in March before. This, more than anything, was the most powerful sign of Mr. Ellingham’s wealth. He could have the sun itself.

“I’ve heard a lot about you, Dolores,” he said. “Mr. Phillips has told me how very bright you are. Fourteen years old and in eleventh grade. You’ve taught yourself Latin and Greek? I understand you do translations?”

Dottie nodded shyly.

“Do you sometimes get bored here in school?” he asked.

Dottie looked at the principal nervously, but he smiled and nodded encouragement.

“Sometimes,” Dottie said. “But it’s not the school’s fault.”

Both men chuckled at this, and Dottie relaxed a little. Not much, but a little.