The Mystery Guest (Molly The Maid #2) By Nita Prose Goodreads Summary (spoiler-free review of The Mystery Guest, below):
Spoilers for The Maid (Molly The Maid #1) ahead, But spoiler free for The Mystery Guest (Molly The Maid #2)
When an acclaimed author dies at the Regency Grand Hotel, it’s up to a fastidious maid to uncover the truth, no matter how dirty—in a standalone novel featuring Molly Gray, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Maid, a Good Morning America Book Club Pick.
Molly Gray is not like anyone else. With her flair for cleaning and proper etiquette, she has risen through the ranks of the glorious five-star Regency Grand Hotel to become the esteemed headmaid. But just as her life reaches a pinnacle state of perfection, her world is turned upside down when J.D. Grimthorpe, the world-renowned mystery author, drops dead— very dead —on the hotel’s tea room floor.
When Detective Stark, Molly’s old foe, investigates the author’s unexpected demise, it becomes clear that this death was murder most foul. Suspects abound, and everyone wants to know who killed J.D. Grimthorpe. Was it Lily, the new Maid-in-Training? Or was it Serena, the author’s secretary? Could Mr. Preston, the hotel’s beloved doorman, be hiding something? And is Molly really as innocent as she seems?
As the case threatens the hotel’s pristine reputation, Molly knows she alone holds the key to unlocking the killer’s identity. But that key is buried deep in her past—because long ago, she knew J.D. Grimthorpe. Molly begins to comb her memory for clues, revisiting her childhood and the mysterious Grimthorpe mansion where she and her dearly departed Gran once worked side by side. With the entire hotel under investigation, Molly must solve the mystery post-haste. If there’s one thing Molly knows for sure, it’s that dirty secrets don’t stay buried forever…
Reason #1- Molly, Of Course
Molly continues to be one of the most wonderful and unique characters being writtene. And in The Mystery Guest, we have the privilege of not just spending more time with Molly but learning more about her. Nita Prose does a brilliant job developing Molly’s character and bringing more of her personality and the life experiences that have shaped her. Moreover, I love the focus on how people have underestimated Molly throughout her life and realize this has to change.
‘Her language skills and reading ability far surpass those of her peers. She’s often a little too precotious. She corrects her classmates grammar and schools them on vocabulary… but you see, she’s different… Molly’s social development is subpar. She hasn’t made any friends at school. In that way she’s a failure.’
Reason #2- Cast Of Characters
Along with Molly, many characters return (except Molly’s boyfriend, who spends the book on a trip to visit his family). Mr. Preston, Detective Stark, and Mr. Snow all return as not just supporting characters. Each has important parts in The Mystery Guest. Additionally, despite her death in The Maid, Molly’s Grandmother continues as a focal point throughout the story. Whether it is ruminating on her sage wisdom or through flashbacks (will talk more about that in a minute), she continues to provide Molly with guidance and support, along with an air of mystery. I especially enjoyed the character arc of Detective Stark. While she does begin The Mystery Guest accusing and acting the same, she does a 180 throughout the story.
The new characters are just a joy, unsurprisingly. Nita Prose provides a colorful cast that includes Mr. Grimthorpe, his wife, his secretary, and his fan club.
Reason #3- Back Story
Ok. The battle of not spoiling anything. Throughout The Mystery Guest, Nita Prose provides flashbacks to Molly’s childhood and her grandmother’s time as a cleaning lady. It fills in and builds, Molly. We learn what happened throughout her childhood, along with more about her relationship with her grandmother. Additionally, it becomes apparent that the flashback story has a connection to present-day crime events. While you know there is a connection, the how and why takes you on many ups and downs, twists and turns.
Thank you to Ballantine Books and Penguin Random House Audio For An Advanced Audio Copy Of The Mystery Guest (Molly the Maid #2) By Nita Prose, Which Releases on November 28th
Reason #4- The Mystery
Like The Maid, The Mystery Guest is such a joy, such a delight to read, that you almost forget that it is a mystery full of suspense. However, this isn’t due to a lack of mystery or suspense. Oh no! One of Nita Prose’s writing strengths is the balance between writing a book you want to hug with a crime that keeps you guessing till the very end. The Mystery Guest provides multiple mysteries in the present and past. Each is compelling in its own right while tightening the stakes as they start to come together.
Reason #5- The Writing
Speaking of Nita Prose’s writing strengths, they stretch far and wide. There are genuine laugh-out-loud moments, hold-your-breath suspense, and heart-stopping thrills. I highlighted some in my Teaser Tuesday (linked). However, I hadn’t read The Mystery Guest at that time. Here are a couple of examples from later in the book (no spoilers, promise)!
‘How is it possible that I remembered everything about him, but he did not remember me?’
‘We were told to clean this suite, and Mr. Grimthorpe’s ajoining one . He’s checked-out as well.’
‘That’s one way to put it,’ Detective Stark says.
Audiobook Bonus: Lauren Ambrose continues to narrate the Molly the Maid series, and she again does a magnificent job. Not only does she bring Molly’s personality to life with stunning authenticity, but she also brings the cast of unique characters right off the page and into life. The production of The Mystery Guest is clear, labeling each flashback.