by Sara Voigt (@meaningfulmadness)
Nita Prose's The Maid
(Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)
Hooray for a wonderful, delightful, heartfelt cozy mystery!
Admittedly, I am a total sucker for the cozy mystery genre. Give me all the cozy mysteries. However, I do think in The Maid, Nita Prose has elevated the genre and created an excellent story and well-developed characters.
The narrative centers around Molly Gray, a maid at at the Regency Grand Hotel. Molly is such an interesting and lovable character. She struggles with social situations, and often takes words meant to be figurative quite literally. In the nine months following her beloved Gran's death, she has had to navigate the difficult waters of social interactions on her own. Prior to this, her Gran helped her navigate social situations and helped her understand a world Molly often found confounding.
Luckily Molly, in the wake of the loss of her grandmother, still has her job at the hotel which she loves and helps bring the much sought after order Molly strives for in her life. However, on one fateful day, Molly goes into a room occupied by frequently returning hotel guests, the Blacks, a well-to-do couple, and finds Mr. Black dead in his bed. This satisfying, humorous, heartfelt mystery proceeds from there...and it is a great one!
“It’s easier than you’d ever think—existing in plain sight while remaining largely invisible. That’s what I’ve learned from being a maid.”
I adored Molly from the beginning. She had a unique outlook and a self awareness that I found completely authentic and refreshing. I loved that she narrates the book so that her thoughts are the ones we are privy to, and we can see how she could mistake sinister intentions for sincerity. The secondary characters are well developed and interesting, and the setting of the hotel in this whodunit style of narrative is perfect. I also loved the exploration of grief in Molly's loss of her Gran, who was her rock. It was heartbreaking and at times, comforting, in the way that Molly still used Gran as her moral compass and guiding light even after her passing.
“We’re all entitled to a bad day now and again, I heard Gran say in my head. But when they are all bad days, with no pleasant ones, then it’s time to reconsider things.”
In addition, there are parts of this book that are just plain funny. I laughed out loud several times and chuckled even more. The Maid delivers a heartfelt story with many laughs and a very satisfying ending. I couldn't have loved this one more.
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