Nobody ever notices the maid — until something goes wrong. That’s the premise of The Maid, Nita Prose’s fresh and vastly entertaining debut mystery featuring Molly Gray, an unconventional and often-overlooked housekeeper at a posh big-city hotel whose unique perspective makes her uniquely suited to solve a murder.
Adrift and lonely after the death of her beloved grandmother, Molly’s only source of solace is her job — restoring order to messy rooms gives her a sense of purpose, even if her eccentric personality makes it hard for her to connect with her coworkers. But when Molly discovers one of the hotel’s regular guests has been murdered, her rigidly ordered life is thrown into chaos. While she never describes herself as neurodivergent, her inability to read social cues and need for routine suggest she sees the world through a very different lens than others — and her quirks catch the attention of the police, who consider her their number one suspect.
As Molly fights to clear her name and get her life back on track, it becomes clear that not everyone around her is telling the truth, and that the Regency Grand Hotel is hiding all sorts of secrets — some benign, some sinister, and some utterly life-changing. And while Molly’s not great at reading people, her sharp eye and logical mind help her recognize when something (or someone) is off.
The Maid does a lot of things very, very well: there are red herrings aplenty, a lengthy suspect list, and an expertly paced, pleasantly twisty plot. The setting is particularly delightful, as life at the Regency Grand allows us to see both the glamourous surface and the messy underside of hotel life — and how the two intersect. But Molly is the star of the story. She’s smart, loyal, stubborn, kind, and forthright. She can’t figure out how to lie, even when it would benefit her, but she also knows how to craft a very carefully worded truth. And it’s an absolute joy to see her match wits with — and triumph over — people who dismiss her. She’s one of those unforgettable characters you can’t help but root for.
As a maid, Molly has trained herself to be so unobtrusive she’s nearly invisible, but it would be a mistake to overlook her – or The Maid. Both are well worth your attention, and with any luck, this warmly funny, character-driven mystery is only the first of Molly’s adventures.