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There are one million new books published each year. With so many books and so little time, where do you begin to find your next must-read? There’s the New York Times Bestseller list, the Goodreads app, the Cape Library’s Staff picks shelf and now Martin’s Must-Reads.Every Wednesday at 6:42 and 8:42 a.m., and Sunday at 8:18 a.m., Betty Martin recommends a must read based on her own personal biases for historical fiction, quirky characters and overall well-turned phrases. Her list includes WWII novels, biographies of trailblazers, novels with truly unique individuals and lots more. Reading close to 100 titles a year, Betty has plenty of titles to share.Local support for "Martin's Must Reads" comes from the Cape Girardeau Public Library and the Poplar Bluff Municipal Library.

Martin's Must Reads: 'The Maid'

“I am your maid. I’m the one who cleans your hotel room who enters like a phantom when you’re out gallivanting for the day, no care at all about what you’ve left behind, the mess, or what I might see when you’re gone.”

I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and those are the opening lines to Nita Prose’s novel The Maid. The maid in the title refers to Molly Gray, a twenty-five year old woman who works at the Regency Grand Hotel. As the book jacket says, “she struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others.” Her grandmother who raised her and helped her interpret the world, died several months before the story begins.

Molly takes great pride in following rules and being a superlative maid. Most of the novel takes place over five days, beginning with Monday when Molly returns to finish cleaning the Black’s room only to discover that Charles Black is lying dead on his bed. The Blacks are regular guests and Molly has come to know Mrs. Giselle Black fairly well including the fact that her husband abused her.

The hotel staff she counts as friends are Mr. Preston the doorman, Juan Manuel the dishwasher and Rodney the bartender. Most of the housekeeping staff don’t take the time to know Molly and ridicule her.

As the police interrogate Molly they are confused by her manner of speaking and accuse her of Black’s murder. Again from the book jacket, “Both a Clue-like locked-room mystery and a heart-warming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different.”

If you’re interested in reading such a mystery, then you must read The Maid by Nita Prose.

Betty Martin was born in Boston, Massachusetts to a Lutheran pastor and his organist wife. Betty’s love of books was inspired by her father who read to all four children each night.