Title: The Maid
Author: Nita Prose
Release Date: 20/1/2022
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 37
(see below for breakdown)
I received a free eARC copy from HarperCollins UK ,via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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
I flew through this fun, fast paced cosy mystery! It took me one lunch time and an evening to read and I really enjoyed it. It had some really excellent twists, a narrator who you really built a connection with and some excellent side characters. It was one of those mysteries where you could see some elements coming and then it would throw a little tid-bit of information you had forgotten back at you and go off in a different direction, which made it fun. It comes off as very light hearted despite glancing past some really important issues.
The only problem I have with this book is how the perspective character’s , Molly , Neurodivergence is initially portrayed and therefore how it is perceived. Many a review has called Molly "cute", "sweet" and "quirky" and while she does have her moments of innocence where she is portrayed as all of those things I find these descriptions of her character as belittling and a problematic issue we have when addressing neurodivergent characters from a neurotypical standpoint. I can’t speak to the representation of Molly’s space on the spectrum, they do not match my own. However, I did find her a strong and empathetic character. She has a very clear voice and it was interesting to watch the mystery unfold from her perspective. She is aware that she operates differently to those around her and displays both moments of trying to conform to societal expectations and others where she pushes through her own. She is such a subtly complex character that I think reducing her to "cute" is not doing the characterization justice. The biggest problem is that these complexities do not begin to show themselves above the stereotypes until a large portion of the book has passed and I feel that this will be off putting and troubling to a lot of readers.
As to plot I think the best way to describe this book is it is a real honest caper! The start is a little laborious. We do get a lot of insight into Molly’s life and the Hotel, as well as extremely! detailed descriptions of cleaning schedules. It will make the tidiest of book worms feel shame. But when the mystery starts the pacing picks up and we start getting hints of a darker underbelly in a cosy way. It did wrap up a little too saccharine sweet at the end but it can be forgiven in this kind of tale. Overall a good read.