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"The Mystery Guest" | Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider

She’s back—Molly Gray, the endearing main character who debuted in “The Maid," published in 2021, a marvelous, fun mystery by Nita Prose.

In Prose's newest, “The Mystery Guest,” dear Mollie has been promoted to Head Maid and is up against another dead body. A famous writer has collapsed at the swank, 5-star Regency Grand, a fab, British boutique hotel where Mollie keeps things running like a well-oiled clock, maintaining strict standards as taught to her by her beloved, late Gran, also a maid.

The shocking tragedy at the hotel occurred as J.D. Grimthorpe, author of a string of bestsellers and a successful newbie, is about to make a presentation and divulge a secret to adoring fans. After Grimthorpe ingests a cupper laced with honey in front of his audience, he collapses, landing flat in the lap of Lucy, a maid-in-training Molly hired and is mentoring, a sweet lass as eager to please as Molly is.

So begins another charmer by Prose, a light, at times comical read that’s sure to please, a novel in which simple, endearing Molly is certain to win lots more hearts. Mollie now has a boyfriend, but he’s out of town, so Mollie has to face the mess at the Regency Grand all alone. And come to grips with being a suspect, juicy bait for a female detective determined to doubt every truth that comes out of Mollie’s mouth, and Lucy’s too.

Prose treats readers to insight into Mollie’s past, moving back and forward in time from past to present, providing information that helps us better understand Gran, who raised Mollie after Mollie’s mother deserted her.

Because Gran had custody of Mollie, she took the child with her to the Grimthorpe mansion when Mollie was small. Gran was a maid at the mansion and introduced Molly to her vocation—a job the child took to like a duck to water. Gran had additional responsibilities as well, helping Grimthrope remain on an even keel so he could kick his addiction to the bottle. This task cost Gran dearly, as Molly soon discovers.

“The Mystery Guest” succeeds because of its well-meaning main character. What a joy to see Molly in action once again, taking everything literally and maintaining a demeanor that’s innocent and admirable.

The world would be a much brighter place if there were more Mollies around—and a heck of lot more ordered as well.




 

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