"Mystery Maid" By Hazel Smith: Review/Giveaway

Review by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of the book and a link to purchase it. 

Ivy Stone lost her parents when she was young and was raised by her grandmother, Isabel Stone. After Isabel passed away, she found herself in England, and after a year, she’s excited to start employment as a maid in one of London’s most magnificent buildings, the Hotel LaFontaine. Ivy has plenty of experience and expertise having helped her late grandmother run a successful maid business in the U.S. Midwest, and now that she’s completed all the required training, she is ready for the challenge…but is she ready for Mrs. Baxter?

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Mrs. Baxter, the hotel’s head housekeeper, isn’t like her grandmother. Her manner, including using a black cane for anything but walking, is quite abrupt and demanding. She explains their work reflects on the hotel’s reputation and cleaning is as “beautiful as an art and as grueling as a sport.” Now that reminded her of her grandmother, sans the threats and intimidation though. Ivy hasn’t had much luck making serious friends, and the other maids don’t seem to be the best of candidates. She continues to have high hopes she’ll make some good friends, but if not, she has Monty, her Great Dane puppy.

Mystery Maid Earns 5/5 Snarky Models…Entertaining & Clever Cozy Gem!

Ivy’s first day on the job is met with a crash. Bending over to pick up some trash, she was banged into and sent flying to the floor. Madame Verville let fly a flock of expletives in French complaining management would be furious if one of her fame had broken a leg. Élise Auclair, also French, wouldn’t listen to such an elitist attitude reminding Mme. Verville she was in a restricted area, not one the management allows for guests. Ivy graciously thanks Élise for her intervention, but before they could share further introductions, another guest saunters in asking if either of them had seen a woman whose description he offers sounds like Madame Verville. Élise doesn’t respond in the positive as she understands guest privacy, but reminds the gentleman he is in an “off limits” area and needs to leave.

Mrs. Baxter escorts her charges on a tour of the hotel, explaining they’ll be partnered with a senior maid, but reminding them how important the next few days are. The hotel is hosting the prestigious Rose Gold Fashion Week, and many of the industry’s biggest participants have arrived, from designers like the pompous Indigo Rodrigo, who’s set on regaining his reputation after some embarrassing scandals, to models like Madame Adéle Verville, whose inflated ego is problematic. Mrs. Baxter takes them through the oldest part of the hotel explaining its history as a medieval Augustinian monastery and the only evidence left is a beautiful fountain for which the hotel was named. But, strewn champagne bottles and a dead body face down in the fountain is something quite unexpected. Ivy is quick to check the body, but the bullet in his forehead means only one thing. Ivy shudder remembering Élise’s final words, “You’ll soon find zat zis job can be murder.”

Zis is Manifique! Hazel Smith has checked all my favorite cozy boxes in her first book in A Maid Ivy Cozy Mystery series: a London setting and a strong female lead with an interesting job, a few “fish out of water” elements and quirky characters, a hint of a “more than friends” connection, some fur friend antics, and a complex mystery complicated by a second murder, but ultimately with a shocking, if not perilous, arrest. The fashion world is ripe for murder with its inherent massive egos and enticements of fame and fortune, but curious secrets, fake identities, professional jealousy, and shocking connections stain the fabric, and even some hotel employees are not exempt from suspicion. But, Ivy’s limited access in the hotel doesn’t suit her unofficial snooping, but by tempting her friends to actively get involved, she finds a porter, a waitress, a front desk clerk can cover the whole hotel for exploring, examining, and eavesdropping. Couldn’t put it down fun! A contender for Top 2022 Surprise Gem!

I enjoyed Ivy tremendously. Her involvement in the investigation emphasizes her unique observational skills, honed by her experience as a maid detecting even the smallest of imperfections, and gets notice by more than the good guys. She understands the importance not to encroach on the official inquiry, but being considered a consultant, unofficial and unpaid, does a lot to validate her abilities. Although she is in need of friends, living in another country, she doesn’t let that stop her friendly attitude and positive outlook. She puts herself out there, shows herself the “bigger person” when confronted with rebuffs, offers her insights and knowledge with determination, and finds her friends respond. Who else wouldn’t want to join in?

Recipes! I love my cozies with recipes, and here the two tasty treats reflect the prominent personalities of Americans, English, and the French: for the English there’s Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze and for the French Traditional French Onion Soup. As for the Americans? We find a way to have both at the same meal!

Subscriber’s Freebie! Twisted Wedding is a story available as a FREE gift HERE to those reader subscribing to Hazel Smith’s newsletter. Ivy is off to a private Scottish isle to help out at a lavish wedding, but when a bride plunges to her death, Ivy can’t help but snoop around. She finds herself “dodging flirtation, sampling delicious dishes, and falling in love with Monty the pup,” but while snooping, she discovers some secrets are worth murderous intent. Earns 5/5 Scottish Ballads!

Be a Big Fan of Hazel Smith!

“Hazel Smith is the pen name for an introverted homeschool mom who lives in small-town in Canada. Faith, family and food bring joy, hope and occasional drama to her life. In between taking care of her family & home, her free time is spent creating cozy mysteries on the porch with her laptop or in her favorite wingback chair whilst nursing the baby and typing with one finger.”

Facebook: Hazel Smith Cozy Mystery Books 

Website: Hazel Smith Cozy Mystery Books

To enter to win an ebook copy of Mystery Maid, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "maid,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 15, 2022. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter.  If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Sounds like a fun read. thanks

  2. "Mystery Maid" by Hazel Smith sounds like a fun book that would be great to read.

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  3. We have a winner!
    Lorie Ham


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