‘I am your maid.
I know about your secrets. Your dirty laundry.
But what do you know about me?‘
– The Maid
[ About the Book ]
Molly the maid is all alone in the world. A nobody. She’s used to being invisible in her job at the Regency Grand Hotel, plumping pillows and wiping away the grime, dust and secrets of the guests passing through. She’s just a maid – why should anyone take notice?
But Molly is thrown into the spotlight when she discovers an infamous guest, Mr Black, very dead in his bed. This isn’t a mess that can be easily cleaned up. And as Molly becomes embroiled in the hunt for the truth, following the clues whispering in the hallways of the Regency Grand, she discovers a power she never knew was there. She’s just a maid – but what can she see that others overlook?
[ My Review ]
The Maid by Nita Prose (January 20th, Harper Collins) is described as ‘escapist, charming…introducing a truly original heroine…a story about how the truth isn’t always black and white – it’s found in the dirtier, grey areas in between…’
Imagine Eleanor Oliphant featuring as the protagonist of an Agatha Christie style locked-room murder mystery. That is the best one line description I can give you all for The Maid. Doesn’t that sound just so very delightful?
The inspiration for The Maid was a stay in a London hotel by Nita Prose. When she came into her hotel room later in the day, a maid was sorting out some clothes that Nita had left lying about the place. Nita began to think about the maid and considered the fact that the maid, at this point, knew things about her, yet she herself knew absolutely nothing about the maid. As her thoughts melded, the prologue was written and Nita Prose was on the way to writing a novel that has already been snapped up by Universal Pictures and is set to cast Florence Pugh as Molly the Maid. Exciting news indeed!
In September 2020, Richard Osman’s cosy whodunnit, The Thursday Murder Club, became an instant best seller. It was obvious that the reader was looking for a return to a warmer read, an escapist novel and The Maid falls into this category perfectly.
Set in the Regency Grand Hotel, The Maid introduces us to Molly. Molly is twenty-five years old and is privately grieving for the one person whose love she could always count on, her grandmother.
‘Recently, I turned twenty-five, “a quarter of a century” my gran would proclaim to me now if she could say anything to me. Which she can’t, because she is dead. Yes, dead. Why call it anything other than what it is? She did not pass away. She did not go gently. She died. About nine months ago.‘
Molly had never known her parents and was reared by her grandmother, a woman who was very fastidious about keeping a clean home and a clean conscience. When Molly reached working age it made perfect sense to her to work in a hotel and, with her grandmother’s assistance, she successfully achieved employment at the Regency Grand. Molly was ideal for the job. With impeccable manners and a very exact personality, Molly thrived while keeping the hotel’s bedrooms spick and span. Molly was unique in that she really, really enjoyed cleaning. Nothing gave Molly satisfaction like the sight of a gleaming bedroom with its crisp sheets and sparkling surfaces. Some of her colleagues laughed behind her back, attaching nicknames to her but Molly shrugged them off, kept her head down and her work-rate up.
‘There’s nothing quite like a perfectly stocked maid’s trolley early in the morning. It is, in my humble opinion, a cornucopia of beauty. And my uniform. What a joy to see it hanging from my locker, wrapped in clingy plastic—clean, disinfected, freshly pressed, a new beginning.’
But one day, Molly discovers the dead body of Mr. Black, a very wealthy guest who regularly frequented the hotel. Molly deals with it all in her own practical manner which attracts the attention of the investigating team. Her reactions are not what they consider ‘normal’, her method of processing the trauma is ‘odd’ and suspicions are raised. Soon Molly discovers that she is in trouble and, with her grandmother dead, she struggles to think who can help her. But Molly has friends and, when they step out of the shadows, Molly finds herself surrounded by folk who want to help. They believe in Molly. They believe her innocence but they just have to prove it first.
The Maid is one of the most endearing novels I have read in awhile. Refreshing and uplifting, Molly’s character is perfectly pitched, completely engaging from the very enticing prologue. As a reader your wish is for Molly to find her own peace in her own unique way and to be happy in herself.
The Maid is a gentle, yet crafty, debut written with a very considerate pen. Full of intrigue, it also highlights our attitudes and treatment of others that we consider to be different, challenging us to rethink our beliefs and actions.
Filled with a motley collection of characters, both lovable and loathsome, The Maid is a novel that will brighten every reader’s day, an absolute joy to read.
[ Bio ]
Nita Prose is a longtime editor, serving many bestselling authors and their books. She has worked at several publishing houses and is currently vice president and editorial director of Simon & Schuster Canada. She lives in Toronto, Canada, in a house that is only moderately clean.
Twitter – @NitaProse