Wednesday 9 February 2022

The Maid by Nita Prose (2022)

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?

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 loved the premise of this story and I couldn't wait to read it. 

Having worked with young people with autism I recognise a lot of the issues Molly has with everyday social cues, relationships, bullying, taking things literally and the reliance on routines etc. The author never states categorically that Molly is autistic but she has many of the traits and I will leave it up to the autistic community to analyse whether or not this is an authentic representation of autism. What I liked about it was the author chose a female protagonist with autism but without savant syndrome.

The mystery itself was quite clever. There are plenty of surprises even though I thought I had the 'who' figured out but not the 'how.' The bad guys are obvious to the reader but not to Molly and I cringed for her as I could see how she was being manipulated and taken advantage of by nearly everyone she worked with. I just had to keep reading to find out how she was going to survive it all and find solve the crime. It got quite exciting towards the end as her 'scooby doo' gang of allies worked together to solve it.

The Maid is similar to a cozy crime story in a way but more intelligent and thought-provoking than a lot of offerings in the genre. 

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