In The Maid (coming 4 January 2022), Nita Prose has created a quirky, socially awkward character, Molly, a hotel maid who finds a murdered guest, who is reminiscent of another quirky character–Eleanor in Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.
Molly works at a boutique hotel and has been all alone since her Gran died a few months ago after having cancer. She loves her job, taking great pride in cleaning, as taught by Gran. Although she has a few friends on the staff at the hotel. she realizes that she is different from everyone else because she has trouble with social situations and difficulty interpreting expressions. She lives her life via a series of rules her Gran taught her, and, for the most part, her rules serve her well.
One day, while cleaning a suite, Molly finds a guest dead in his bed. She had been friendly with his wife, who the guest did not always treat well. As Molly is questioned about the death, the reader finds out that some strange things were happening at the hotel, and there are many suspects. Molly’s difficulty interpreting expressions and social situations has created some real problems caused by people she thought were her friends. Luckily, Molly does have some true friends, though, who help her through being accused of murder.
I loved it–Molly is a charming character, despite her quirks and rule-bound nature, and Prose has crafted some great twists and surprises in this mystery. And it was completely weight-neutral. Although there were no fat characters explicitly described, neither the author or any of the characters expressed any anti-fat bias. It would be easy for a fat person to imagine themselves as a character and see themselves in this book.