Let’s talk about the ending and other key twists from The Maid by Nita Prose.
Welcome to the spoiler discussion for The Maid! If you’re looking for a spoiler-free review, check out mine here. For book clubs looking for discussion questions, you can find that here.
I really enjoyed The Maid! I thought it was quite charming in many ways, which is not how you typically describe a murder mystery. I rooted for Molly throughout her journey and I really enjoyed her character development.
Overall, it’s a clever and entertaining read. Like all murder mysteries, this one features quite a few twists. And they were surprising!
First, a quick synopsis: Molly Gray is a maid at a five-star hotel. She has trouble interpreting the intentions of others and struggles in social settings. But she takes great pride in her work. Molly’s life is upended the day she enters the suite where she finds a famous guest is dead. Molly’s unusual demeanor results in her becoming the lead suspect. She’ll eventually work with a cast of characters to help clear her name.
The Big Reveals
Spoilers from here on out!
It initially appears that the mystery is fairly cut-and-dried. Rodney, the head bartender, ran a drug cartel at the hotel. He murdered Mr. Black. Case close.
But it wasn’t.
It turns out while Rodney is a very bad dude, he did not actually kill Mr. Black. It was Mr. Black’s first wife, the original Mrs. Black. I have to say, I was very surprised by this reveal! I had assumed it was Rodney all along.
I did reread a couple sections and the author does give hints that Molly knows more than what she’s letting on—to both the police and the reader.
For instance, toward the end, when Detective Stark clears Molly of all charges and says Rodney will go to jail for a long time, Molly says: “That seems appropriate. He’s a liar, an abuser, and a cheat.”
“He’s also a murderer,” Mr. Preston adds.
I say nothing.
On my initial read, I didn’t put much stock in that. But now, I can see she clearly knew Rodney did not commit the murder and also did not volunteer that information.
And when rereading Molly’s time on the stand, she never explicitly says she saw Rodney but implies it in a somewhat discreet way. Molly claims she simply told her version of the truth and how people interpret it, is up to them. But I think she knew what she was doing.
Molly and Gran
I truly enjoyed the dynamic and relationship between Molly and her gran. It was so sweet and lovely—well to a certain point in the book. I will say, Molly’s actions revealed at the end kind of clouded it for me a bit.
Gran’s pain became absolutely unbearable and they didn’t have the money to keep up with the pain prescriptions as needed or more hospital stays. So gran asked Molly to, I don’t know how else to say it, assist with her death. Molly put the remaining pills in her tea and then used gran’s pillow to suffocate her.
Again, this was gran’s idea and she pushed Molly to do it. But agh, that whole ordeal left me with a weird feeling!
A strange story choice, in my opinion. I get that this action helped with her eventual connection to Mrs. Black. But I don’t know, it was way out of left field for me. What are your thoughts about it?
Mr. Black was a cheater, abuser and a criminal so no one was sad to see him gone. What happened the day of his murder is that Mrs. Black went to confront him and Mr. Black was pretty much drugged out but still managed to grab her by the wrists so hard that she would get bruises.
He eventually stumbled into bed and laid down. And that’s when Mrs. Black suffocated him with the pillow.
Upon this reveal, she says to Molly, “In my experience, there are times when a good person must do something that’s not quite right, but it’s still the right thing to do.”
This resonated with Molly as gran asked her to assist with her death, and while it was a horrible thing to ask, Molly felt it was the right thing to do for gran in the end. Molly says to herself, “mercy takes unexpected forms.”
Between that and the acknowledgement that many bad people seem to go free while they continue to hurt good people, Molly decided not to report that Mrs. Black was the actual murderer.
Tell Me Your Thoughts
I thought the twists was interesting—both the fact that Mrs. Black was the real murderer and that Molly knew all along. It showed Molly was more perceptive than she let on.
But still a bit strange regarding Molly’s actions with her gran’s death. And that’s one reason she bonded with Mrs. Black. It’s certainly a twist but an odd one at that.
One more item to point out that it seems Mr. Preston is actually Molly’s grandfather! I wonder why that was only heavily implied but Molly did not seem aware of it. Maybe a sequel is in store?
Still, I did very much enjoy the story, even if a couple parts were a little clunky.
What are your thoughts about the novel? Were you surprised by the twists? What do you hope to see in the movie version? Let me know below!
Monday 29th of August 2022
The thing that just doesn't make sense to me is that Mr. Preston didn't reunite with Molly's Grandmother after her family had disowned her. The only reason they broke up in the first place was because her family objected to the match. So with the family no longer in the picture, and Gran pregnant with Mr. Preston's baby, why not get married? I realize that's not central to the story but it's the one thing about the novel that really irritated me. On the positive side, it inspired me to clean my house!
Thursday 25th of August 2022
I love a good mystery! I'm not sure this qualifies, but it was interesting. There is real struggle with writing from a character's point of view, if it's not your own. I don't know if the author is neuro divergent, but I suspect not.
My thoughts about presenting a specific disability/difference/etc is that the author can make it what they want it to be. Monk? Didn't have OCD, he was just particular. People who are deaf don't always speak while signing (neither do their companions translate aloud).
I can't help but think that Molly's secrets and the things she tells people are awfully convenient. And she freezes or faints under strain. She doesn't pace, hit herself, pull hair, scream, or anything "unattractive".
Yeah, perfect neuro divergent Molly the Maid.
Tuesday 21st of June 2022
The minute I read the chapter about Gran's death I put all my suspicions onto Molly. I thought she had experience of justifying a death, in this case to rid her friend of the abusive husband. The first Mrs. Black was a surprise and great twist.
Saturday 14th of May 2022
Why did Molly say that the reflection of Mrs Black in the mirror reminded her of herself and her Gran... it made me think that Mrs Black was her mum. But Gran had cried because Molly's mum had died, so that bit was unclear to me and I wanted a little more clarification.
Wednesday 10th of August 2022
@Kristin, I also think that Mrs. Black is Molly's mom
Saturday 14th of May 2022
@Kristin, Oh wow, that would be an interesting twist if Mrs. Black was indeed her mother!
I do think this section was a bit confusing overall. My interpretation was that Molly felt a kinship with Mrs. Black as she used a pillow as well (as per Gran's request). It's bizarre though and I would be curious if the author will give more insight into this once the book has been out long enough. Or maybe the film version will make it more clear.
Monday 2nd of May 2022
I read this book in one day! Could not put it down! I'm still considering the ending, though. It occurred to me that Molly may have killed Mr. Black (which doesn't make me love her any less!) My thoughts...when Mr. Preston says in addition to Rodney being a liar, an abuser and a cheat, he is also a murderer, Molly chooses to say nothing. Is she protecting the first Mrs. Black? Getting revenge on Rodney? Maybe; or is she protecting herself? Also, Mr. Black and Gran die in interestingly similar ways. Both, weakened by drugs/medication, are then suffocated. Coincidence? Maybe; but Molly is the common denominator in each case. The book seems to be clear that Rodney is the murderer of Mr. Black, as do most of the reviews/comments I've read. But still...
Tuesday 3rd of May 2022
@Janice T, Oh gosh, that is so interesting!! I did wonder why there was such a focus on how Mr. Black and Gran did die in similar ways. I took it that Molly felt a somewhat kinship with Mrs. Black (who I had assumed murdered Mr. Black) but now I do wonder if it was actually Molly in the end. I'm going to have to re-read that section now! What a great book.