I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.
Published: January 2022
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 was super curious about this book after hearing good things about it on Book Twitter and I’m happy to say I had a really great time with it! The Maid is a charming and engaging whodunnit with a delightfully quirky protagonist.
I really enjoyed how light and easy this was to read, while at the same time leaving space for deeper reflections on a variety of themes. It’s written in a simple yet highly captivating way that made it nearly impossible to put the book down, managing to perfectly balance tension and intrigue with positive and heartwarming feelings. In a nutshell: exactly what I needed at the moment!
I really enjoy murder mysteries and I have a soft spot for socially awkward, quirky characters, so it’s really no big surprise that I liked Molly the maid so much. I alternately wanted to give her a big hug and sit her down to explain one or two things that were painfully clear to me as a reader, but Molly clearly had no clue about. I was definitely reminded of Eleanor Oliphant (another character I absolutely adored), even though I found Molly to be slightly less complex, her character presenting less depth in how it was delivered. I did like the representation of grief and how delicately that was handled.
As much as I liked Molly, there were a few times when I felt a bit frustrated, as certain elements were repeated multiple times, to the point that they became almost blindingly obvious to everyone except for Molly. This was perhaps the intended effect, yet I couldn’t help but feel it maybe dragged on just a bit too much at the expense of other characters’ development. Some of the secondary issues affecting certain characters could also have benefited from a bit more breathing space, but that’s mostly my personal taste.
Where I felt more disappointed was in the conclusion, which seemed to come out of nowhere and with an extremely limited build-up to that point. This felt very unsatisfactory to me and really seemed like an attempt at getting one final twist at all costs. Still, the journey was really pleasant, even though I ended up not liking the destination all that much! I had lots of fun with this book and flew right through it.
Definitely recommended if you’re in the mood for a quick and easy, engaging murder mystery with an adorable (if not particularly well-rounded) protagonist. A mood-lifter for sure!