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The Maid
Cover of The Maid
The Maid
A Novel
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK • “A heartwarming mystery with a lovable oddball at its center” (Real Simple), this cozy whodunit introduces a one-of-a-kind heroine who will steal your heart.
 
“The reader comes to understand Molly’s worldview, and to sympathize with her longing to be accepted—a quest that gives The Maid real emotional heft.”—The New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)
 
“Think Clue. Think page-turner.”—Glamour
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The Washington Post, PopSugar, Kirkus Reviews
In development as a major motion picture produced by and starring Florence Pugh
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.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK • “A heartwarming mystery with a lovable oddball at its center” (Real Simple), this cozy whodunit introduces a one-of-a-kind heroine who will steal your heart.
 
“The reader comes to understand Molly’s worldview, and to sympathize with her longing to be accepted—a quest that gives The Maid real emotional heft.”—The New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)
 
“Think Clue. Think page-turner.”—Glamour
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The Washington Post, PopSugar, Kirkus Reviews
In development as a major motion picture produced by and starring Florence Pugh
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.
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  • From the cover

    Chapter 1

     

    I am well aware that my name is ridiculous. It was not ridiculous before I took this job four years ago. I’m a maid at the Regency Grand Hotel, and my name is Molly. Molly Maid. A joke. Before I took the job, Molly was just a name, given to me by my estranged mother, who left me so long ago that I have no memory of her, just a few photos and the stories Gran has told me. Gran said my mother thought Molly was a cute name for a girl, that it conjured apple cheeks and pigtails, neither of which I have, as it turns out. I’ve got simple, dark hair that I maintain in a sharp, neat bob. I part my hair in the middle—­the exact middle. I comb it flat and straight. I like things simple and neat.

    I have pointed cheekbones and pale skin that people sometimes marvel at, and I don’t know why. I’m as white as the sheets that I take off and put on, take off and put on, all day long in the twenty-­plus rooms that I make up for the esteemed guests at the Regency Grand, a five-­star boutique hotel that prides itself on “sophisticated elegance and proper decorum for the modern age.”

    Never in my life did I think I’d hold such a lofty position in a grand hotel. I know others think differently, that a maid is a lowly nobody. I know we’re all supposed to aspire to become doctors and lawyers and rich real-estate tycoons. But not me. I’m so thankful for my job that I pinch myself every day. I really do. Especially now, without Gran. Without her, home isn’t home. It’s as though all the color has been drained from the apartment we shared. But the moment I enter the Regency Grand, the world turns Technicolor bright.

    As I place a hand on the shining brass railing and walk up the scarlet steps that lead to the hotel’s majestic portico, I’m Dorothy entering Oz. I push through the gleaming revolving doors and I see my true self reflected in the glass—­my dark hair and pale complexion are omnipresent, but a blush returns to my cheeks, my raison d’être restored once more.

    Once I’m through the doors, I often pause to take in the grandeur of the lobby. It never tarnishes. It never grows drab or dusty. It never dulls or fades. It is blessedly the same each and every day. There’s the reception and concierge to the left, with its midnight-­obsidian counter and smart-looking receptionists in black and white, like penguins. And there’s the ample lobby itself, laid out in a horseshoe, with its fine Italian marble floors that radiate pristine white, drawing the eye up, up to the second-­floor terrace. There are the ornate Art Deco features of the terrace and the grand staircase that brings you there, balustrades glowing and opulent, serpents twisting up to golden knobs held static in brass jaws. Guests will often stand at the rails, hands resting on a glowing post, as they survey the glorious scene below—­porters marching crisscross, dragging suitcases behind them, guests lounging in sumptuous armchairs or couples tucked into emerald loveseats, their secrets absorbed into the deep, plush velvet.

    But perhaps my favorite part of the lobby is the olfactory sensation, that first redolent breath as I take in the scent of the hotel itself at the start of every shift—­the mélange of ladies’ fine perfumes, the dark musk of the leather armchairs, the tangy zing of lemon polish that’s used twice daily on the gleaming marble floors. It is the very scent of animus. It is the fragrance of life itself.

    Every day, when I arrive to work at the Regency Grand, I feel alive again,...

About the Author-
  • Nita Prose is a longtime editor, serving many bestselling authors and their books. She lives in Toronto, Canada, in a house that is only moderately clean.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 15, 2021
    Molly Gray, the 25-year-old neurodivergent narrator of Prose’s assured debut, has sought solace in her maid’s job at the Regency Grand, a boutique hotel in an unspecified city, since the recent death of the grandmother who raised her. Molly’s uniform makes her feel invisible, which is a relief given her difficulty reading social cues, and she derives great satisfaction from returning things to a “state of perfection.” When frequent guests Charles and Giselle Black check into one of Molly’s assigned rooms, she’s pleased; though tycoon Charles is imperious, Giselle tips well and treats Molly like a friend. To her dismay, upon entering the couple’s suite, Molly discovers that Giselle is out, and Charles is dead. The police find Molly’s stoicism suspicious, and someone seems determined to make her their patsy, but Molly thankfully has more allies than she realizes. Not every twist feels earned, but on balance Prose delivers a gratifying, kindhearted whodunit with a sharply drawn protagonist for whom readers can’t help rooting. Fans of fresh takes on traditional mysteries will be delighted. Agent: Madeleine Milburn, Madeleine Milburn Literary (U.K.).

  • AudioFile Magazine Narrator Lauren Ambrose performs this creatively crafted mystery featuring 25-year-old Molly Gray, a maid at the Regency Grand Hotel, who, while cleaning the suite, finds a dead body. It's Charles Black, whose wealth, infamy, and nasty personality precede him. The police think Molly killed Black since all the clues point to her. Ambrose's narration is "perfection,"as Molly herself would say. The story is told by Molly, who loves being a maid, is verbally precise, lacks social skills, has a tendency to be obsessive, and is rather na�ve. Ambrose also projects a range of emotions to portray the personalities of Molly's friends and those who manipulate her. Molly must save herself by solving the murder--but can she? M.B.K. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award � AudioFile 2022, Portland, Maine
  • Library Journal

    Starred review from March 1, 2022

    An extremely sympathetic and unique main character, fully detailed secondary characters, and a juicy murder make for an involving contemporary mystery in Prose's superb debut. Molly has just lost her beloved Gran, who helped her neurodivergent granddaughter navigate the subtleties of verbal and physical communication. Molly is thrilled with her job as a maid at the swanky Regency Grand Hotel, where she takes great pride in returning each room to its "state of perfection" through comfortable, repetitive tasks. Her coworkers are mostly cruel, though Molly has found a friend in the beautiful young second wife of wealthy but unpleasant guest Charles Black. When Molly finds his dead body in the Blacks' hotel room, a series of naive actions cause police to arrest her for his murder. Her few work allies help as Molly's methodical brain figures out the identity of the real murderer. Actress Lauren Ambrose narrates with perfectly succinct diction, which is totally in character for precise Molly. She deftly conveys Molly's frequent bewilderment and nearly complete inability to understand humor. VERDICT A must-purchase for all public libraries. In addition to being both delightful and a satisfying mystery, the book has been optioned for film; there will likely be high demand.--B. Allison Gray

    Copyright 2022 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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The Maid
A Novel
Nita Prose
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