The Maid by Nita Prose

My Five Word TL:DR Review: A cosy, quirky murder mystery

TheMaid

I really enjoyed The Maid.  I was looking for something different that would help me find my reading mojo and this book certainly helped with that and then some.  This is a cosy mystery with a central character that you can’t help but be charmed my.  Molly the maid is a lovely character, splendidly old fashioned, delightfully articulate, perfectly well mannered and ever so slightly obsessed with blitzing dust and grime.

I quite fell for Molly.  She’s the sort of character that you can’t help wishing to meet.  She is very quirky, she sees things slightly differently to others and unfortunately this has often led to bullying, taunting and name calling.  She definitely can’t read a room or gauge other people’s emotions and takes the things that people say quite literally which often leads to some strange encounters. Molly has been raised by her grandmother after her mum ran away with a ‘bad egg’ and her gran has been helping her to navigate life by giving her guidelines and rules for certain situations, an etiquette code if you will.  Unfortunately, Molly’s gran passed away a few months before this story starts and so although we constantly share snippets of the wisdom she imparted we don’t actually make her acquaintance and her demise has left Molly alone to fend for herself.

As the story starts Molly shares with the reader her love for her job at the Regency Grand Hotel where every day she takes great pride in returning rooms to ‘a state of perfection’.  We start to get a feel for her as she guides us through her day which ends when she returns to her quiet and orderly, but ever so lonely apartment.  Molly misses her gran and is also struggling to cope financially but she faces each day with optimism.  That is until she finds one of the guests dead in his room and within fairly short order she finds herself embroiled not only in various illegal activities but also becoming ‘a person of interest’ to the police.

This is such a good book to get along with.  The writing is perfectly balanced, the setting just pops into your mind’s eye with remarkable ease and the plot slowly but surely becomes more out of control as Molly is sucked from one situation to the next.  The thing is, Molly frequently misunderstands signals, body language, facial expressions etc, she’s innocent and truthful to a fault and so the notion that she could be set up to take the blame for murder simply doesn’t occur to her.  She has the most remarkable memory which makes her statement to the police invaluable but at the same time her desire to protect certain others leaves her story lacking somewhat. You can’t help but read with your heart almost in your throat when Molly makes certain decisions that you know are going to come back to bite her.

There is a fairly standard cast of characters, the sort you would probably expect with this type of setting but this just adds to the easy way that you slip into this book.  And what about the names – Mr Black/Mr Snow/Miss Grey – I love these.  Then there’s the handsome barman, the rather snippy supervisor, the steadfast doorman and the wealthy couple who rent the penthouse plus a few other shady characters who pop up from time to time.

In terms of criticisms.  I don’t really have any to be honest.  This isn’t a dark or gritty murder mystery.  the humour is a little dark in that Molly is often unaware of what is actually taking place around her but for the most part this is the very epitome of ‘cosy’ mystery. and I was totally enthralled. I wouldn’t say that this resembles police procedure in any way so if you’re looking for a slice of reality then this probably isn’t the book for you but I have no hesitation in recommending this, it has a lovely found family vibe and Molly is a refreshingly unique character to read about.  I can’t wait to see what Nita Prose comes up with next.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4.5 of 5 stars