Nita Prose, a long-time editor who has worked with numerous best-selling authors, made her literary debut on January 4, 2022, with the publication of her novel “The Maid.” The story revolves around Molly Gray, a maid at the Regency Grand Hotel, who finds one of the hotel guests, Charles Black, dead in his hotel suite and soon becomes the prime suspect in the crime. The book has been nominated for the Best Mystery & Thriller and the Best Debut Novel in The Goodreads Choice Awards 2022.
Molly Gray, a maid at the five-star boutique hotel, is quite different when it comes to social interactions and interpreting other people’s intentions. Her father left her mother even before she was born, while her mother left soon after. Being a drug addict, her mother could not bring herself to raise her daughter. As someone who was solely raised by her grandmother, she seemed a bit different from other people. As a result, coping in social situations was challenging for Molly. Molly disliked school since she was frequently the target of bullying from her peers. The only source of guidance and advice to deal with such situations was the constant words of wisdom from her gran. But soon, that source was also taken away from her, and she was left alone in the world at the age of twenty-five.
Molly’s grandma instilled in her a deep appreciation for cleanliness and order, making her an ideal fit to work as a maid. She abides by and expects others to adhere to all the social norms her grandmother instilled in her. After the death of her grandmother from pancreatic cancer, she dedicated herself fully to her profession and made sure to complete every assignment with the utmost precision. But when she discovers the body of wealthy business tycoon Charles Black in his suite, her carefully planned life is thrown into chaos. Soon after the investigation into the death begins, Molly finds her life in a mess she cannot clean. Moreover, she has to deal with it all by herself, with only the words of wisdom from gran that she still holds on to.
Did Rodney Kill Mr. Black? Who Did Molly See In The Mirror?
As Molly finds herself in the midst of the murder investigation of Mr. Charles Black, she tries to save her friends, who are all seen as possible suspects in the murder. Giselle Black, Mr. Black’s second wife, becomes a friend of Molly and finds solace outside of her unhappy marriage. Molly sympathizes with Giselle and attempts to shield her from any further police scrutiny. She also makes an effort to save Juan Manuel, the kitchen’s dishwasher, and Rodney, the hotel’s bartender. In her time at the Regency Grand, Molly develops feelings for Rodney, whom she finds attractive and endearing. But soon, she learns that Rodney and Mr. Black had been operating a drug cartel and engaging in criminal activity in the hotel suites. He also enlisted Juan Manuel’s assistance by threatening to harm Juan Manuel’s loved ones back at home. When Molly pieces everything together, she concocts a scheme with the assistance of Juan Manuel, Mr. Preston, the hotel’s doorman, and his daughter, Charlotte, a well-accomplished lawyer, to make the police catch Rodney red-handed. Rodney admits to engaging in drug trafficking with Mr. Black, but he denies any involvement in Mr. Black’s death. At the end of the trial, Molly testified that the murderer was in the room with her when she discovered Mr. Black dead. She says she passed out after seeing the murderer’s reflection in the mirror. But she admits to the readers that she may have twisted the reality a little by implying that it was Rodney. Molly reveals in the epilogue that the reflection she saw was actually Mrs. Black, the first wife of Charles Black. As wealthy as Charles was, he was not a good person, a “very bad egg,” as Molly refers to him. He was a cheater, a thief, an abuser, and a criminal. Molly understood that Mrs. Black could be a criminal in a court of law, but from a different point of view, she was merely a victim of Mr. Black’s wrongdoings and didn’t deserve to be punished like a criminal. She cleans up after Mrs. Black to remove all her fingerprints and any evidence of her presence in the suite. She never mentioned her to anybody, not even Charlotte or Mr. Preston.
“The Maid” is flawlessly written, especially the beginning and the ending. The middle part of the story could feel a bit stretched at times, but overall, the book can be enjoyed as a light and heartwarming locked-room mystery thriller. The ending will leave readers stuck between the horizons of right and wrong. “The Maid” is also being adapted into a feature film by Winterlight Pictures, where Florence Pugh will bring to life the role of Molly Gray.
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