NYT Bestseller The Maid Takes Top Spot

The Maid photoSecond up in the MWA Edgar nominees for Best Novel is Nita Prose’s The Maid.  Plot overview:  Molly Gray is a maid at the splendid Regency Grand Hotel, where she delights in returning the guest rooms to a “state of perfection.”    Clearly on the autism spectrum, Molly has a hard time deciphering social cues, but thrives on her routine.  Her life has been upended recently by the death of her much-loved Gran and the loss of their nest egg to a bad boyfriend.

But Molly is bearing up well despite her worries, with a few good friends on the hotel staff and a growing friendship with frequent Regency guest, Giselle Black.  Giselle is the trophy second wife to her husband, Charles, who is what Molly would call a “bad egg.”   Circumstances take a turn for the worse when Molly’s discovers the Black suite in disarray and Charles dead in his bed.

No shock, it’s murder, and naïve Molly rapidly becomes the police’s prime suspect.  Thankfully the doorman’s daughter is a lawyer, and once out on bail, Molly quickly comes to learn who her real friends are and the small group of doorman, lawyer, undocumented kitchen worker, and Molly are able to outwit the bad guys and ensure that the right people go to jail.

The Maid is told in first person, and Molly’s voice is unique and a pleasure to read.  Often the reader can accurately interpret what is being said when Molly herself cannot.  And there are a couple of unexpected twists where Molly shows that she is a more complex personality than she first appears.

Compared to Notes on an Execution, The Maid is an easier and more enjoyable read.  It’s a very tough call, because both books have much to recommend them, but I’m going to move Notes down to the #2 spot.

Literary Lunchbox Rankings:  Best Novel

  1. The Maid by Nita Prose
  2. Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka