I quite enjoyed this mystery novel. It’s not one of my best reads this year, or even this month, but it has an unusual narrative voice and draws our attention to the experiences of low-paid hotel staff.
The story is told by Molly, who works as a maid at a posh hotel, I’m not sure which country, as the setting wasn’t that clear. Molly is possibly autistic, obsessive-compulsive, traumatised or all of these. She has a strangely old-fashioned way of speaking, as she was brought up by her grandma, for whom she is grieving. Molly enjoys cleaning, tidying and following the rules. When she becomes drawn into a murder investigation, she finds out who her friends really are and that her ‘other’ status might work against her.
I felt that the second half of the book wasn’t as strong as the first, probably because the plot turned out to be simpler than I expected. Although the attention to detail impressed me and there was a good twist right at the end, most of the characters were under-developed, so I couldn’t care what happened to them. The book is described by some readers as ‘cosy crime’. To be honest, I’d be put off a book with that label. If you are too, I’d still recommend The Maid. I didn’t find anything cosy about it, other than the endless tea and crumpets that Molly consumes.
First published in 2022.