The Maid and The Mystery Guest by Nita Prose are nice spins on cozy mysteries. Molly lives in a small apartment and loves to keep it clean. She also loves that aspect of her job and is satisfied with it, even though many people might not enjoy that type of work.
There's very little drama in Molly's life - or at least, what's there, like grieving her grandmother and crushing on a coworker, isn't dealt with in an emotional way as it might be in a more literary novel. The only drama is the murders that happen in the Regency Grand Hotel, where she works.
Of course, Molly is the one investigating both murders. That's the hallmark of a cozy mystery, along with other key characteristics that make this genre stand out.
Ironically, for me, the mysteries in these books weren't that compelling. In both reviews, I mention they were fairly slow reads for me.
For The Maid, my review stated: "I like the premise of this book but it was really slow going. The ending, conversely, seemed rushed. Overall the story was great but I wish the pacing was more consistent."
For The Mystery Guest, I wrote: "Both this and its prequel, The Maid, read slow for me, but were enjoyable stories overall. Almost cozy mysteries since Molly seems so content with her job and space in life. As a ghostwriter by profession, the case in this one did interest me more. I’d definitely read more from the author."
Clearly, something about Molly's life kept me coming back. I like how cozy mysteries can feel like no-strings-attached reads. While I love getting attached to fictional characters, crying with them, and thinking of them long after I finish the book, sometimes it's nice to just... not have that level of attachment. So that's what made me read both of these books and what will push me to read more from this author/in this series.
What I liked most was how Molly was neurodivergent, most likely on the autism spectrum, but it was never explicitly stated. I like that the books aren't defined by having an autistic narrator. Plus, not knowing Molly's diagnosis, if she has one, feels more true to life.
If you like the niche of Molly being neurodivergent or the mysteries set in a hotel, you might like other cozy mysteries with diverse niches.
On the note of neurodivergence/autism/disabilities, I'll compile links and reviews to other books I've read that feature people with disabilities. Many are middle-grade and YA because my MLIS capstone project was collection development for a disabilities department. But there are adult novels out there, too, so I'll share a list Thursday.
Until then, please share your thoughts on The Maid and The Mystery Guest by Nita Prose in the comments!