Ethel Lina White

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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.

Career as a 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 United States 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. Although she has now faded into obscurity, in her day she was as well known as such writers like Dorothy L. Sayers and Agatha Christie. 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. Also, many of her works previously unavailable have recently been published for Amazon Kindle.


She died in London in 1944 aged 68.


Short stories[edit]

  • Cheese (can be found in Capital Crimes; edited by Martin Edwards)
  • Waxworks (can be found in Silent Nights - Christmas Mysteries; edited by Martin Edwards)
  • Old Man River (can be found in Best Mystery Stories - published in 1930 by Faber & Faber)


  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]