The Maid by Nita Prose is a warm hearted mystery that is all about character in a really strong debut novel. What makes this novel so unique is that you have a main character that can not read emotion. We see everything through that person’s eyes so a conversation can feel innocent but can be sinister, some things will be instant red flags, but most will have you guessing the intent of the character. The mystery is good and filled with lots of layers, that kept my interest. Molly the maid has so much charm that so just can’t help but root for against all the odds she’s up against. The Maid reminded me a lot of The Curious Incident of the Dog in Nighttime by Mark Haddon which is good company. The beginning took a little while to get going, I thought the chapter lengths at the beginning were too long. The final twist takes a little too long after the main stories conclusion, it was a good twist not for the narrative but for the character of Molly. People have described this as a cozy mystery, which I think fits there is a murder but not a violent one, Molly is a very likable character full of empathy. This book is getting a lot of buzz lately, the author was interviewed on Good Morning America, and GMA book club selection for January, Florence Pugh (Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Little Women) is producing and starring in the movie adaptation, which I can’t wait to see because the book is so character driven, there’s a lot for a good actress to play with. I got to review this book thanks to Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books I feel thankful to get since I requested it so late. The Maid was published just days ago on January 4th 2022.
The Plot Summary: Molly, 25, is a maid at the Grand Regency Hotel she is on the spectrum as light autistic where she can not read facial queues or intent. Molly loves being a maid, it is her whole life, she loves to clean even after she is off she has a rigorous list of cleaning for her own apartment. Molly was taught her routine and how to clean from her Gran, who passed away 9 months ago, but her words of wisdom and cheery attitude have stuck in Molly. Molly has just discovered her first body of Mr. Black a powerful, rude, business man who frequently stay at the hotel with his second wife. Mrs. Black has befriended Molly but is she taking advantage. The police can’t tell if Molly is playing the innocent act or she is genuine, because she is the main suspect.
What I Liked: The character of Molly is a stand out, a really sweet character but with some secrets. The humor in this book is great, the staff call Molly a Roomba. Because she can’t read facial queues she makes inappropriate jokes because she literally can not read the room. There’s a scene when she’s getting interrogated and makes a joke, that is so funny given the context. Molly and the relationship with her Gran is really special and will pull at the heart strings. There’s a lot a moments where you the reader know someone’s intention and have to go with Molly into the darkness that doesn’t recognize the danger. The twist at the end was good and fit the character of Molly. This is one of my first feel good mysteries and I was pretty smitten with it.
What I Disliked: There’s a lot of cliched saying by Molly that are a little bit annoying until we get the context which is 30 pages in and is basically an embodiment of her Gran, and is almost a 70 year-old trapped in a 25 year-old’s body. This adds to the beginning being a little slow. There’s also a lot of repetition but it is only at the beginning which contributes it to being slow. I liked the twist but it didn’t need to come 30 pages after the conclusion, the reader knows there’s a piece missing and Prose takes her time delivering the information.
Recommendation: I think this is a great debut novel, it has one glaring new novel trope which is repeating its self but since Nita Prose is a book editor, it is smaller than most. If you are open to read a good heart warming mystery filled with charm and not too much conflict then this is the book for you. Like I said this is my first cozy mystery and I was smitten. The character of Molly is a standout, and even if there was not a mystery I would have had fun and laughed at those inappropriate moments. I rated The Maid by Nita Prose 4 out of 5 stars. I look forward to what Prose will come up with next.