About the Book:
Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.
Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.
But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?
A Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.
“I am your maid. I know so much about you. But when it comes down to it: what is it that you know about me?”
What a delight! This is a wonderfully complex “cozy mystery” but with a neurodivergent main character. Molly is never specifically described as being on the spectrum, but her inability to interpret normal social cues and situations was front and center in this very creative story.
‘The Maid’ is told from Molly’s point of view. Although she is somewhat childish in many respects, she takes great pride in her job as a maid at a luxurious hotel. The exact setting of the book is a mystery and while I normally like to know the locale of a story, there were enough descriptions to give just a hint – maybe Canada? There were references to both American and British habits in the book.
Molly is diligent and hard working and is also very lonely after the death of her beloved grandmother, who had raised her. Molly’s neat and orderly life is upended when she discovers the body of one of the hotel’s most prestigious guests. She is then drawn into a murder investigation and becomes the prime suspect.
The hotel employees are like a family and they rally around Molly to help her. There are lots of red herrings and even though this is a mystery, the story is breezy and light. All of the characters could have committed the crime, but will Molly be able to prove who did it and clear her name? Her sometimes wooden behavior and flat affect do not endear her to the police investigating the crime (“When all else fails, tidy up.”)
If this is Nita Prose’s debut novel, I cannot wait to see what she writes next. This is an accomplished and polished debut and I absolutely loved Molly Gray. The ending was a surprise and was very satisfying. Highly recommend this warm and quirky mystery!
(Many thanks to the publisher for providing an advanced reading copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)