A Cozy Locked Room Mystery

The Maid by Nita Prose

Publication Date: January 4, 2022

Summary from NetGalley:

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.

ARC provided by Random House via NetGalley for an honest review.

Confession:

This was a delightful cozy mystery with an interesting main character. I mostly enjoyed this one, though I did have a couple of issues.

Molly is a delight and I really enjoyed her point of view. Molly is a very realistic character and one that you can root for. She does have difficulties with social cues and understanding others emotions and intents, often misreading situations. Her issues are never given a label, which bothered me at first, but eventually I came to see that it was better that way. It kept me from assuming certain things about Molly. Molly is also a tad on the OCD side, making sure that things line up and being bothered when they don’t and she can’t fix it. Her character does grow over the course of the book, with her learning to navigate the world better.

There are lots of secondary characters, some who like and want to help Molly, and others who are just using her, or ignoring her. I really liked the group who rally around her and help her when she is accused of the murder. They were the best of the bunch, and become her new family by the end of the book. Molly’s grief over her grandmother’s death was also well done.

There were some other themes that ran through the book, other than the mystery, that were nicely done. Such as the invisibility of the working class, and how they are treated at times. Also, the way people interpret Molly’s difficulties navigating the world as robotic and unemotional. There is also some emotional and physical abuse between some of the characters, that I thought was handled well.

The mystery was well done, but for me pretty predictable, until a twist at the end. Even though Molly was clueless to what was really going on in the hotel, we saw through her eyes and if you are paying attention, you can figure it out pretty easily. There is a nice twist at the end that reveals the true killer that I wasn’t totally expecting, which made the rest of the mystery more interesting. There were a few slow spots and some parts that seemed repetitive, but overall I found the writing engaging and at times it was hard to put this book down.

Overall, this was a delightful debut novel and one that I would recommend if you like cozy mysteries. I look forward to seeing and reading more books by this author.

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