The Maid by Nita Prose
Have you ever met one of those characters that have stayed with you long after reading? That, for me, is Molly Gray. Endearing and unique, her voice ripples off the pages of The Maid. This is one book you won’t want to miss. (Review continued below.)
About The Maid:
A dead body is one mess she can’t clean up on her own.
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 demeanour 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?
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The Maid is a delightfully charming cozy mystery — but there’s depth here too.
I found myself absolutely enthralled with the character of Molly. The story is told entirely from her perspective and her voice is unique and refreshing. Molly takes things very literally and has a difficult time interpreting what others are actually trying to say. (Sometimes, Molly reminded me of a much more complex version of the Amelia Bedelia character I loved as a child.) With no one to bounce things off of after the death of her beloved Gran, Molly often feels adrift and misunderstood. And yet, she is always cheerful and conscious of being the woman her grandmother raised her to be. She’s diligent, a hard worker with a good heart, and a loyal friend. And she’s an absolutely endearing character.
Because it is told through the lens of a character who always sees the best in the world, the story does have a cheery and bright feeling sheen to it. But there are heavier layers here too. This story also touches upon those who feel invisible in the world, as well as subjects like friendship and family, identity and finding one’s voice.
Readers will be able to put together much of the mystery before Molly does. However, there are a few surprises here too. The plot is well crafted and the story, beautifully written.
First and foremost, this was a beautiful character study. In fact, it’s hard to believe this is a debut novel! I sincerely look forward to future work by Nita Prose and highly recommend this read.