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ETHEL LINA WHITE

1876-1944
British

"Lost causes are the only causes worth fighting for."

Ethel Lina White, born in 1876, was a British crime writer, best known for her novel, The Wheel Spins (1936), on which Alfred Hitchcock based his motion picture, The lady Vanishes (1938).

White started writing as a child and often contributed essays and poems to various children's papers. Later in life, she began to write short stories but it was some years later before she undertook a full length novel.

Eventually, she left her full-time government job in order to pursue her writing career. Lucky, the risk of leaving stable employment paid off; in the 1930s and ‘40s, her writing made her one of the best known crime writers of her time, both in Britain and the USA.  

Unfortunately, she did not get to enjoy the height of her wealth and fame for all that long; she died in London, in 1944, at the age of 68. However, her works have enjoyed a revival in the last few decades; there was a stage adaptation of The Lady Vanishes touring the UK in 2001 and the BBC broadcast an abridged version on BBC Radio 4 as well as a TV adaptation by the BBC in 2013.