The Lady Vanishes

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Pub Date Sep 03 2024 | Archive Date Jun 18 2024
Pushkin Press | Pushkin Vertigo

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The ingenious classic thriller behind Hitchcock's famous film, set on a steam train travelling across 1930s Europe and boasting “intrigue, mystery, and spine-chilling horror” (Saturday Review)

First published as The Wheel Spins in 1936 and adapted for the screen by Alfred Hitchcock in 1938, Ethel Lina White’s The Lady Vanishes established the author as one of the greatest crime writers of the Golden Age.

After a summer holiday in a remote corner of Europe, the glamorous socialite Iris Carr is looking forward to returning to the comforts of home. But having stayed on at the resort after her friends’ departure, Iris now faces the journey home alone. On the train to Trieste, she is pleased to meet a kindly governness, Miss Froy, and strikes up a conversation. Iris warms to her companion, and is alarmed when she wakes from a sleep to find that Miss Froy has suddenly disappeared from the train without a trace. Worse still, she is horrified to discover that none of the other passengers on the train will admit to having ever seen such a woman.

Doubting her sanity and fearing for her life, Iris is determined to find Miss Froy before the train journey is over. Only one of her fellow passengers seems to believe her story. With his help, Iris begins to search the train for clues to the mystery of the vanished lady at the center of this ingenious classic thriller.
The ingenious classic thriller behind Hitchcock's famous film, set on a steam train travelling across 1930s Europe and boasting “intrigue, mystery, and spine-chilling horror” (Saturday Review)


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ISBN 9781805335177
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Featured Reviews

This is one of all time favourites. I have watched the movie countless times, the bbc tv remake and I've seen it on the stage twice. Pleasure to read this it's a classic. Great edition I really liked the cover. I wish there was more reprints of older classics like this. Given so many modern day writers base their books around these classic it would be great to be able to easily accesses the classics to new generations.

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This is the fifth time I have read this classic novel of suspense. Like most people I have watched the film adaptations too but it is the novel that appeals most.
Ethel Lina White writes with ornate style always creating an atmospheric sense of mystery in her novels. In real life she had a dread of being buried alive and her evocation of character worked perfectly in novels of psychological suspense.
Written in the mid-1930s, when she was as well known as Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers, this novel reflects the growing tension in Europe as the world is about to be plunged into war again.
Miss Froy is like an elderly character actor, playing a bit part on stage, but stealing the headlines in all the reviews.
This is one of the real classics from the golden age of crime writing and deserves to find a whole new generation of readers, whilst still offering charm and satisfaction to those who have read it before.

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I received a copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley.

Iris is befriended/rescued on a European train by Miss Froy, a governess who is also travelling back to England, but who (unlike Iris) has taken the trouble to learn some European languages. Iris, who is suffering from sunstroke, dozes off and when she wakes up again, Miss Froy has vanished and the other people in her carriage deny she ever existed. I don't know if it was really obvious, or if I have seen/read some version of this earlier, or if it is just well-clued and I worked it out, but it was immediately apparent to me what had happened to Miss Froy. Nevertheless, this was an entertaining read as Iris' earlier thoughtless behaviour means none of the people she knows from the hotel she has been staying at are inclined to help her. The perspective shifts from time to time so that we understand why a whole variety of people are unwilling to get involved. Iris begins to doubt her own sanity and this is set against the pathos of Mr and Mrs Froy plus Sock the dog waiting for Miss Froy's return.

The ending left Iris and her love interest ready to walk off into the sunset together, even though he has just doubted her sanity and been willing to drug her without her knowledge - not really a match made in heaven...

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Enjoyed this story. Mysterious and quirky characters. Red herrings and secrets. This talented author has written a novel that keeps the attention of the reader from page one. Thanks Netgalley .

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Thank you to NetGalley and Pushkin Press

A classic murder mystery ala Agatha Christie. There's no wonder why Alfred Hitchcock made a movie out of this book. It was suspenseful and mysterious. It constantly kept me guessing and I highly enjoyed it. The setting is my favorite, in the 1930s and with an isolated setting it was perfect. Would highly recommend it for any fans of classic murder mysteries.

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The Lady Vanishes is an iconic book that has been made into movies several times, most notably the original version that launched Alfred Hitchcock's stellar career.
Written in 1936 by Ethel Lina White this is a Golden Age classic ,and a real treat.

After a rather raucous holiday in a small European resort ,where her rowdy cohort had annoyed other residents with their behaviour, socialite Iris Carr finds herself sharing the train home with many of those her and her group had annoyed. Suffering from sunstroke Iris is taken under the wing of a kindly lady. Miss Froy. After a nap Iris finds not only no sign of Miss Froy but everyone she asks denying any knowledge of her new acquaintance. With fellow passengers thinking Miss Froy is a figment of a distressed young woman's imagination Iris is determined to prove them wrong.

This is a joy to read, almost a "locked train" novel with a diverse range of characters, potential suspects if indeed Iris is correct and Miss Froy has been the victim of some kind of crime. The author constantly teases the reader, often just when it seems that Iris is making progress success is snatched from her by events without her being aware. Not as dry as the contemporary Agatha Christie's books there's a wry humour throughout and a nice back story of Miss Froy's elderly parents and her faithful dog looking forward to her return. It's quirky and often funny while at the same time suspenseful and claustrophobic as the train nears its destination with Iris struggling to be believed,let alone discover the fate of the missing lady.

An excellent read, fairly short and massively entertaining.

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The Lady Vanishes is a book that keeps you on your toes and keeps you guessing as to what did happen to Miss Froy.

Although originally published in 1936 under the title The Wheel Spins, this book withstands the test of time.

It never gets old.

Iris Carr has been befriended by Miss Froy and when she cant be found anywhere on the train , Iris takes it on herself to rescue her new friend.

The train full of likeable and unlikeable characters and who can anyone believe.

No one believes Iris that Miss Froy even was on the train.

Twists and turns, closed door mystery and the suspense will keep the pages turning.\

Its no wonder this book was made into the infamous movie The Lady Vanishes.

The Lady Vanishes is an old time mystery similar to Agatha Christie that is tautly written and thoroughly enjoyable.

Now I am off to watch the movie but I suspect the book will by my favourite of the two.

Thanks to NetGalley and Pushkin Press/Pushkin Vertigo for reintroducing this great book.

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This is the first book I've read by Ethel Lina White. It held me in thrall and I finished it in one day. Her wit, insights, and observations on manners, behavior, and underlying motives slice to the bone.

The two central women are complex and extraordinary. They breathe in these pages, enduring pain and hard-earned growth.

The omniscient narration creates a delicious intimacy with the key players, unfolding their stories with masterful pacing. The train presses on with Iris Carr facing obstacles on all sides. It's a harrowing, relentless, visceral tale.

Hints of horror emerge early, laying the groundwork for the intensifying psychological shocks and high stakes battle ahead.

The opening unfurls with a beautiful setting and the vibrancy and uncertainties of travel. Iris is privileged and self-involved, yet dissatisfied. I was taken with her. Despite being popular, beautiful, and idly rich, she's aware of a dark undertow. The tension between the image of a carefree adventure and her inner state hooked me from the start.

Her insulation with her crowd of shallow friends and freedom in the outdoors contrasts powerfully with the crises that close in on her. The situation becomes claustrophobic and chilling. The wrenching suspense, mental torment, and horrific bits feel fresh.

White orchestrated the novel beautifully, drip-feeding new insights at each turn, creating a stunning tapestry to take our breath away. This thriller delivers the immense satisfaction of the jigsaw pieces snapping together at the end.

I recommend The Lady Vanishes to readers who enjoy suspense, amateur sleuths, or horror. Fans of other Golden Age crime writers, Patricia Highsmith, or Alfred Hitchcock have a treat in store. This novel would also make a good gift for people who prefer to avoid blatant sexual content and overt swearing yet are comfortable with mild titillation and characters who smoke, drink, and speculate about other people's sex lives. 

I'll add links after I post to TikTok and Goodreads

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This is the inspiration behind Hitchcock's film of the same name, and you can easily see why he was so drawn to it. The book simmers with his signature brand of suspense even before he put his spin on it. This has been on my TBR forever, so when it became available on NetGalley, you better believe I snapped it up and started reading straight away.

Iris is a young, independently wealthy socialite of the new sort. Fed up with the boisterous crowd of Bright Young Things she's been holidaying with, Iris declines to return to England with them and travels alone instead. On the train, she meets another Englishwoman. With a brisk, chivvying force of will, Miss Froy imposes herself on Iris's truculent self-isolation. Until she's suddenly gone. When Iris asks around if anyone has seen Miss Froy, her fellow passengers claim there was never a second Englishwoman in the compartment at all...

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I enjoyed reading the captivating inspiration behind Alfred Hitchcock's movie masterpiece. The story follows Iris Carr, a young socialite returning home to England after being on vacation with her friends. While on the train journey home, Iris meets a woman named ‘Ms Froy’ who inexplicably vanishes. The story takes place on a moving train, creating a confined setting and making the disappearance of Ms Froy even more mysterious. The writing is evocative and the story is action-packed and filled with suspense. While the ending did feel slightly rushed it was nonetheless a great read. I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for a classic thriller!

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4.5 stars for this excellent classic mystery! There is a great cast of characters to enjoy. The plot is complex but not completely unbelievable. The author is masterful at tying together all of the threads from earlier in the story.

Although switching to the perspective of Miss Froy’s parents took away a bit from the momentum of the mystery, it added heart to the story. My bigger qualm is that I struggled to see Hare as a good friend or love interest for Iris by the end of the story. However, he was still an interesting and important character.

I enjoyed this book very much and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys mysteries.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the free eARC. This review is my honest opinion.

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It’s easy to see why Alfred Hitchcock chose to adapt this novel to film – it’s very much a psychological thriller. An English socialite is staying alone in a hotel in the mountains after her friends have all left, leaving her alone with an unusual cast of more English characters. She collapses on the platform of the station as she waits for the train but is bundled onto it at the last minute, finally squeezing into an overcrowded carriage. There she meets another English woman who mysteriously disappears from the moving train, with everyone else in the carriage denying she was ever there. She spends the rest of the novel trying to discover what has happened.

The ‘what happened’ in the event isn’t particularly hard to guess – it’s all reasonably clearly signposted – but the ‘why’ is a little more concealed and makes some sense. The larger part of the story though is the tension over the main character making herself believed and second guessing her own memories and thoughts. It’s a classic locked room kind of thriller and very enjoyable in a slightly dated way.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an advance copy in return for an honest review.

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Iris Carr is a spoiled young English woman used to getting her own way. She is on holiday somewhere in a remote part of Europe with a group of friends. This group is not popular at the hotel because of the ways in which they behave and the disturbance they cause to the other guests. When the group decides to leave, no one is sorry to see them go. Iris has decided to stay on, but when she goes out hiking and gets lost on the mountain, she decides she's had enough to plans leave the next day. As she's waiting for the train, she is suddenly knocked out, waking up in a waiting room and barely making the overcrowded train. She doesn't speak any language other than English and her head is pounding so she is grateful to discover that the middle aged woman in tweeds sitting across from her is also an English woman. They have tea together, but Iris stops paying much attention to Miss Froy, who gives her some tablets. Iris falls asleep and when she wakes up, Miss Froy has vanished and everyone else insists she never existed at all. Iris fears foul play and tries to discover what's happened.

This is an excellent Golden Age mystery, which I am delighted to see reprinted. The book was originally published as The Wheel Spins and was made into films. I am not a movie person, so never saw any of the films. This was my introduction to the book and the author and I look forward to reading more of her work.

The book begins with the narrative written in third person mostly from Iris' point of view, with just a glimpse of the other characters. Once the mystery begins to unfold on the train, things start to shift around more from Iris to the other English people from the hotel who are also on the train, and back to England where Miss Froy's parents and dog await her return with feelings of foreboding. Each person on the train has their own worries that explain their behaviour so this is a necessary change in perspective as the story goes on. The book is well-written, the story kept me turning the pages, and the descriptions of the scenery added a lot to the narrative. If you're a fan of Golden Age mysteries like I am, this is a great book to pick up and enjoy.

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I consider myself to be a HUGE Hitchcock fan and I know a thing or two about his films and I read just about every biography and every book on him, or his films.

I usually choose the books I want to read on the basis of the blurb or the attractive cover, but in this case it was, of course, the title.
Now reissued, this is a classic, magisterially written and as good as it has ever been.
Truly one of the best thrillers ever written.
Absolutely worth a read, and even if you have never liked thrillers before, this one will have you converted in no time at all.

One of my favourite books of all time and made into a magisterial film by none other than Alfred Hitchcock.
The book, better known by its original title The Wheel Spins - written by Ethel Lina White, was published by Collins Crime Club London in 1936 and filmed in 1938, starring Margaret Lockwood & Michael Redgrave; it was the last film to be made by Hitchcock before he left the UK for Hollywood.
This was the original story that was made into that film. Utterly brilliant and very readable still.
Highly recommended!

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The Lady Vanishes was originally published in 1936 as The Wheel Spins and so many people will know this as the 1938 Hitchcock film. I enjoyed the film very much but the book is so much better.
I love the author’s writing style, it is full of atmosphere and suspense and this book is a real psychological thriller. The story surrounds Iris who is travelling back from Europe by train and is befriended on the journey by the elderly Miss Froy who subsequently vanishes and nobody believes Iris that Miss Froy was ever there.
The twists and turns of the story will keep you interested and the mid 1930’s setting in Central Europe gives an insight into the feelings of that time. A very enjoyable read.

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The Lady Vanishes by Ethel Lina White was originally published in 1936 as The Wheel Spins. It was (and still is) so good it was adapted by Alfred Hitchcock. Golden Age mysteries are amongst my favourites and Ethel Lina White was as well known as the fellow crime writers Margery Allingham, Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Anthony Berkeley and E. C. R. Lorac. Talk about an illustrious bunch!

Orphan and English socialite Iris Carr has enjoyed vacationing with her friends in Europe. She is now journeying home with strangers on a train and en route to beautiful Trieste, she is thrilled to connect with fellow English woman Miss Froy, a governess. After a nap, Iris wakes up to discover Miss Froy isn't there. She asks fellow passengers and train staff who act like she's lost her marbles. No one remembered a lady by Miss Froy's name or description. Iris begins to question herself and starts to let go of the notion. However, one person finally agrees to the reality of Miss Froy which is the push she needs to do some investigating.

Though the solution isn't difficult to work out, the descriptions, gorgeous writing, train setting (I'm a big fan of Trieste, too) and fascinating mores of the time grabbed me and I briefly melted into another world. I seldom encounter less-than-stellar Golden Age mysteries and adored this one.

My sincere thank you to Pushkin Press and NetGalley for providing me with an early digital copy of this splendid whodunit. Thank you for republishing this gem of a classic!

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This was a lovely book with an interesting premise, a number of interesting twists, and enjoyable style. I enjoyed it.

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I recently read The Lady Vanishes, provided as an eARC by Net Galley. This book was first published as The Wheel Spins in 1936 and it was also made into a movie by the Great Alfred Hitchcock in the 1930s

The story centres on young l, glamorous Iris Carr who meets Miss Froy, a governess returning home on their train to Trieste. Miss Froy disappears but no one on the train recalls her presence other than Iris Carr and no one will believe Miss Froy even exists.

A fabulous classic crime mystery written in the golden era of mystery writers. As a lover of Agatha Christie and writers similar to her, this was on my list. I've seen this movie so many times over the year and was excited to read this new edition

A fabulous number of interesting and mysterious characters and clever, witty dialogue, this is a great read which held my interest throughout despite knowing the plot!

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The book is mesmerising and really intrigued me. The language used is easy to follow and understand, making the reading an easy process for me.

Definitely will recommend to others.

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Un giallo classico di tanto in tanto è un toccasana, e The Lady Vanishes è un delizioso meccanismo a orologeria: niente viene lasciato al caso, e se non ho provato troppa simpatia per Iris, l'ho trovata credibile e attorniata da personaggi che, nelle loro piccole storie di contorno, lo erano altrettanto, spesso rappresentanti di un'epoca e di una classe sociale ben definite e ormai perse.
Un ottimo recupero, e un'ottima alternativa a una rilettura di Dame Agatha.

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