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The Mystery Guest: A Maid Novel


The Mystery Guest: A Maid Novel

Since we first met Molly Gray in Nita Prose’s THE MAID, she has been promoted to Head Maid of the Regency Grand Hotel, which is a huge honor for her. She always aspired to be a maid, having watched her beloved Gran attain greatness in the art of cleaning and polishing. As a youngster, Molly’s personality caused her trouble, especially at school, where she demonstrated high proficiency. However, her lack of social skills held her back. It is just this sort of quirky personality that cast her under suspicion a few years back in the death of hotel guest Charles Black.

Now, as Head Maid, Molly is thrilled to be supervising the preparations for a very special occasion in the tearoom. Everyone is bustling with excitement, among them a group of guests who call themselves the LAMBS --- Ladies Auxiliary Mystery Book Society. In reality, they are a bunch of odd ducks themselves. Famous mystery author J. D. Grimthorpe is here to make a surprise announcement. The audience waits in anticipation as he steps up to the microphone, accepts a cup of tea, opens his mouth to speak --- and drops dead.

"THE MYSTERY GUEST is a fun mystery. If you like character-driven stories, this one’s for you. Molly Gray is one of the most unique characters I’ve come across in a long time and is oddly lovable."

So begins a merry chase for…a killer? Was it murder? The police are summoned, and Detective Stark, the officer who investigated Black’s death, is the lead on this case. Stark thinks it’s murder right away. Having dealt with Molly before, she begins with a preconception about the maid’s innocence, along with her competence. People often underestimate Molly, as Stark will find out. But now, discovering who killed Grimthorpe is what counts. It could be tough, though, for the man had no shortage of disgruntled acquaintances. Since it happened in the hotel, the list grows long as several employees had opportunity.

Since the morning of the murder, Lily, Molly’s Maid-in-Training, has become almost mute and acting very strangely. Cheryl, whose job Molly took, easily could be a candidate, what with her constant sneakiness. Mr. Preston, the hotel doorman, had been seen at the nearby pawn shop with what appeared to be purloined goods. And let’s not forget the LAMBS. They purport to be a fan club, but we all know that fans can turn on their idols at the drop of a hat. Still, Stark has her eyes on Molly.

Molly narrates the story, occasionally taking us back to her early years when she lived with Gran, the woman to whom she always looked up. Gran had a saying for almost every occasion that would help get them through the hard times, which they had plenty of. Losing Gran had been very sad for Molly, but the memories she shared with her carry on. The truth is, Gran is never far away. She keeps popping up in surprising ways.

THE MYSTERY GUEST is a fun mystery. If you like character-driven stories, this one’s for you. Molly Gray is one of the most unique characters I’ve come across in a long time and is oddly lovable. She is open, honest and wise, yet she believes herself to be barely worthy of all her blessings. She can’t imagine being anything other than a maid. It feeds her sense of order and keeps her life tidy. But when someone suggests something else she might be good at, Molly pauses to consider it. We will have to wait for the next Maid book to see what direction she takes. In the meantime, enjoy this rousing mystery. It's great entertainment.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on December 1, 2023

The Mystery Guest: A Maid Novel
by Nita Prose

  • Publication Date: November 28, 2023
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 0593356187
  • ISBN-13: 9780593356180