Ethel Lina White

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Ethel Lina White (1876 – 13 August 1944) was a British crime writer, best known for her novel The Wheel Spins (1936), on which the Alfred Hitchcock film, The Lady Vanishes (1938), was based.

Early years[edit]

Born in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales, in 1876,[1] White started writing as a child, contributing essays and poems to children's papers. Later she began to write short stories, but it was some years before she wrote books.

Crime writer[edit]

She left employment in a government job working for the Ministry of Pensions in order to pursue writing. Her writing was to make her one of the best known crime writers in Britain and the USA during the 1930s and '40s.

Her first three works, published between 1927 and 1930, were mainstream novels. Her first crime novel, published in 1931, was Put Out the Light.


She died in London in 1944 aged 68. Her works have enjoyed a revival in recent years with a stage adaptation of The Lady Vanishes touring the UK in 2001 and the BBC broadcast of an abridged version on BBC Radio 4 as well as a TV adaptation by the BBC in 2013.


  • The Wish-Bone (1927)
  • Twill Soon Be Dark (1929)
  • The Eternal Journey (1930)
  • Put Out the Light (1931)
  • Fear Stalks the Village (1932)
  • Some Must Watch (1933) (filmed in 1946 as The Spiral Staircase, remade under the same title in 1975, and again for TV in 2000)
  • Wax (1935)
  • The First Time He Died (1935)
  • The Wheel Spins (1936) (filmed in 1938 by Alfred Hitchcock as The Lady Vanishes, remade in 1979 and again for TV in 2013.)[Note 1]
  • The Third Eye (1937)
  • The Elephant Never Forgets (1937)
  • Step in the Dark (1938)
  • While She Sleeps (1940)
  • She Faded into Air (1941)
  • Midnight House (U.S. title Her Heart in Her Throat, 1942, filmed in 1945 as The Unseen)
  • The Man Who Loved Lions (U.S. title The Man Who Was Not There, 1943)
  • They See in Darkness (1944)


  1. ^ The novel was serialised in six weekly 15 minute parts, read by Brenda Blethyn, from 7 March 2008 on BBC Radio 2.

External links[edit]