When I first started reading The Maid, by Nita Prose (is that a real name? If so, it’s perfect for a writer or the editor she used to be!), I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. It was a wee bit hard to get into to start with, but once it hit its rhythm and I understood the idiosyncrasies and marvellous differences of the lead character, Molly Gray, the maid of the title, it came together perfectly. I also realised how clever Prose was being by almost denying the reader easy access to the story. It’s as if we’re forced to walk in Molly’s shoes and see the world through her eyes. Molly, someone who perceives things differently, confusing signals and taking people quite literally, has always relied on her grandmother to function as a kind of mediator. Only, when the book opens, her grandmother and tether to the world, has died, and all alone, Molly must forge on, sometimes being artless and other times being incredibly insightful, but often without realising either.
Grief-stricken and missing her beloved gran terribly, Molly nevertheless takes great pride and pleasure in her work as a hotel cleaner, working hard and flawlessly to provide great service for guests and her boss. But when she finds a wealthy guest dead in his suite one day, her orderly world is thrown into disarray, especially when she is viewed as a suspect.
As Molly becomes entangled with those who don’t have her best interests at heart, seeking to protect those she believes her friends, she finds herself in real trouble. But what Molly, sweet, kind and honest, hadn’t counted on are the real friends she’s made along the way – and not just at the Regency Grand where she works. Perhaps together those who care about her can clear Molly’s name and find the real killer.
This is a heart-warming story of difference, perseverance, and kindness and how easy it is for those who don’t fit within society’s definition of “normal” to be exploited, but also rise above the machinations and deceits of others. You find yourself rooting for Molly, fighting in her corner and, like her other true friends, demanding justice.
An easy, charming read that also serves as a “locked room” mystery as Molly, her friends, the police, and the reader work to uncover the murderer.