Malicious: Death at the Wedding by Anne Hocking (1946)

Major William Austen is not happy with his current position in the army. As the war nears its end, he wants to go back to his earlier position in the Scotland Yard. He is currently a top-shot in the espionage department but wants to become a Chief Inspector once again. His friend Andrea tells him that he needs a break and when he tells her that he has some leave coming up asks him to accompany her to a wedding.

It seemed Andrea for all her sensible nature had fallen hook, line, and sinker for an RAF officer Ralph Beaufort. But then she had taken him to her home in the country and introduced him to neighbour Jeanne (at one time plain Jean) Foster… with the result that Ralph was now marrying Jeanne. Andrea wants William to accompany her to the wedding so that she can show the world that she doesn’t care two hoot for Ralph any longer. Nor is she sad about the wedding. William, who is her childhood friend, agrees. Everything goes off well till the time the party returns from the church but when the couple is to start for their honeymoon, the bride is found dead. Who could have hated her so much? William has to consider the fact that perhaps Andrea, all her protestations to the contrary, still cared enough for Ralph to kill his newly-wedded bride.

I found this novel to be full of spite. It seemed at times that only Andrea is the one woman who is beautiful in and out, the others are all presented in a very spiteful manner as shallow and superficial. It makes for some very unsatisfying read. Also how many times are we to read William reassuring Andrea that though as a friend, he doesn’t believe that she killed Jeanne but as a police officer he has to consider all possibilities. How much reassurance does she want?

The book is dedicated to one “BILL (MAJOR W.R. CARR) WITH FRIENDSHIP AND AFFECTION”. It makes me wonder whether the character of William is based on this Major.

Not a very stimulating introduction to the author but I don’t want to dismiss her after just one read so will definitely be reading more of her.


First Line: “I wish,” said Major Austen, plaintively, pushing his coffee cup aside and leaning his elbows on the table, “that they would let me be a real policeman again.”

Publication Details: London: Geoffrey Bles, 1946

First Published: 1946

Pages: 192

15 thoughts on “Malicious: Death at the Wedding by Anne Hocking (1946)

  1. I know just what you mean about spite, Neeru. It can easily go too far in a novel and take away from the story. So can too many reassurances! Still, it sounds like an interesting premise. Perhaps it was jut this novel, in which case you’re wise to be willing to try another of Hocking’s books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The spite element was off-putting Margot and the characters didn’t appeal to me much but I have found some positive reviews of her other books in the blogosphere so will definitely read more of her. As you say, perhaps just this novel…😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I recently read MISS MILVERTON by Hocking and enjoyed it very much but it is the only Hocking I’ve tried. I did enjoy it enough that I immediately bought a copy of TO CEASE UPON THE MIDNIGHT, largely because I found Austen to be a detective I liked immensely both for his quotations and his self deprecating manner. As to a mystery filled with spite, to me nasty people are unsurprising in a mystery. Somebody has to be mean enough to kill or at least be a suspect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I am so glad you liked Miss Milverton because I saw it on the library shelf but didn’t pick it up as it seemed such a bland title. 😀 I am off blogging and reading right now because of the pressures of life (hence the delay in replying to this comment too) but plan to read it once I start visiting the library again.

      I understand about spiteful people but here it seemed as though the author herself felt spiteful towards a certain class of women. If you read this book, I’ll love to read your take on it.


  3. You continue to review books by authors that are new to me. This one doesn’t sound too appealing, but she has written many more, so maybe someday I will find one of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tracy, it is always fun to discover forgotten authors but even more fun when friends too read those authors and discussions ensue around them. Hope you are able to find and read some of her books.


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