The mystery genre has only 2 basic requirements, an apparent crime, most often murder, and an attempt by someone to discover who did what and why. But as all mystery lovers know, the real fascination is the “hook” the writer uses to draw the reader into the story. I have read mysteries solved by paraplegics, small children, English Lords, gender fluid persons, and even aliens. I have read mysteries set in locked rooms, in the future, in other countries and time periods with victims who turn out to be long lost spouses, twins, and even not dead at all.
In Nita Prose’s entertaining debut novel, “The Maid”, the main protagonist and first-person narrator is Molly, the hotel maid, who discovers a body in a room she has come to clean. The crime is typical mystery fare and the solution to the whodunnit is satisfying but not really a puzzler for the reader to solve. What makes this book so interesting, the “hook” if you will, is that Molly is autistic. Seeing the world through her eyes will be a new perspective for most readers. There have been a number of books with autistic narrators (remember “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” by Mark Haddon or Helen Hoang’s series of romances beginning with “The Kiss Quotient”). When these books are successful, we notice things through the narrators’ eyes that we have either taken for granted or never appreciated in the world of sensory overload that most of us inhabit. Through such highly focused eyes, we are forced to re-evaluate what is important and gives meaning to life.
An enjoyable read. Let’s hope that this is not Molly’s only foray into the world of detection!
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