The Maid by Nita Prose The Maid by Nita Prose
Published by Ballantine Books on January 4, 2022
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Purchase at Bookshop.org or Audible
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three-half-stars

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.

Molly Gray is a maid at the Regency Grand Hotel, a five-star boutique hotel. She loves her job, from her uniform to her daily tasks. She is efficient and detail-oriented. She does think a bit differently from the average person. She has trouble with social cues and tends to take things literally. When she discovers a hotel guest dead, her whole life is disrupted. She quickly becomes a suspect.

The Maid is told from Molly’s point of view. She’s delightful and endearing, socially awkward, and honest to a fault. I liked her, mostly. I also wanted to shake some sense into her. She’s clearly neurodiverse, but that is never explicitly mentioned. She’s also inconsistent, which works well with the plot, but doesn’t feel true to her character.

To the reader, it seems absurd that anyone would consider Molly capable of murder. We’ve seen her be manipulated and misunderstanding situations. We’re thankful that it turns out she has friends on her side. We know who probably killed Charles Black, but there is a pretty good twist near the end that was surprising.

The characters, except Molly, are all pretty one-note with no nuances. Is that because we are seeing them through Molly’s eyes and she tends to see things in black and white, or because the author failed in giving us full, believable characters?

Overall, this was a light, fairly enjoyable read. The message that we need to work together with people who are different from us is good. The mystery’s resolution was unexpected, but mostly because a main clues was hidden from us. The epilogue was almost too sweet, but I am glad Molly gets a happy ending. By the way, it is not a locked-room mystery, as mentioned in the blurb. I’m also not sure I get the Clue reference aside from it being a mystery and some of the characters’ names have colors.

Apparently, a movie is already in the works.

About Nita Prose

Nita Prose is a longtime editor, serving many bestselling authors and their books. She lives in Toronto, Canada, in a house that is only moderately clean.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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