Devotees of cozy mysteries, rejoice: Nita Prose's debut, The Maid, satisfies on every level—from place to plot to protagonist ... Prose dials up the tension by creating a realistically different heroine ... Prose makes a wise choice in Molly's first-person narration, allowing readers to enter Molly's world ... While some readers may guess who the killer is immediately, it doesn't really matter, as the book is more about Molly—who does not. There are other things happening around Molly that she misses, too, including a crime ring that relies on an undocumented immigrant's fears of deportation ... The delight of reading The Maid lies partly in watching a hectic cast of characters unravel (take special pleasure in watching Rodney Stiles, the hotel head bartender on whom Molly has a crush) as the crime is properly solved. It also lies in seeing Molly learn that thinking differently does not equal giving up friendship or high standards. What begins as a sprightly murder mystery turns into a meaningful, and at times even delicate, portrait of growth.
This book is truly spectacular. Molly is a delightful character with an inspiring outlook on the world around her, even when the world reveals itself to be a somewhat dark and dirty place. Reading her ordinary thoughts is nearly as compelling as the mystery itself. More importantly, with Molly as the narrator, The Maid shines a spotlight on the 'invisible' among us. Prose gives us a neurodivergent character with the strength to subvert not only antiquated 'the butler did it' tropes attached to those in the murder mystery service industry, but also the stigma attached to neurodivergence itself as Molly surprises even those who do see her. It’s hard not to love a murder mystery with a nice, tidy ending—and The Maid is nothing if not fastidious. This is a debut novel with sheets that are spotless of errors and folded together just right. Upon finishing the book, anticipate checking dark corners for strangers and your pages for unseemly dog-ear creases.
It’s such a pleasure to experience, readers won’t realize all the behind-the-scenes hard work that goes into crafting such a fun and surprising mystery ... Channeling the quirky cast of Clue and gentle, wry humor of Douglas Adams, The Maid hits all the right notes in these crazy times. With the world seemingly in more disarray every day, it’s refreshing to meet a character who just wants to make everything orderly again. Molly’s voice is distinguishing from the very first page ... The Maid is such an enjoyable read that I was sad when it ended. Author Prose does a superb job of building this small but complete world. Even the secondary characters are interesting and memorable, from the cranky landlord to the weary but prudent hotel manager. It’s obvious from the outset who the friends and foes are and which are the wolves in sheep’s clothing, but we go along for the ride because we want to watch Molly figure it out for herself. The Maid is, to use one of Molly’s favorite words, a 'delight' from beginning to end.