Ethel Lina White – It’s kind of ironic that the first novel I read by White, I enjoyed as a teenager during one of my visits with my Aunt Ethel (A feisty gal, Ethel Durgin was a major Yankees fan in Lowell, Massachusetts). Anyway, back to the writing Ethel. My first experience with her work was a quirky piece called While She Sleeps. I adored the independent lead, Miss Loveapple, prickly and sensitive, smart, and adventurous underneath her timidity. White sets you up for a turn for the fatal at the end, but you never know exactly how you’ll get there until you suddenly arrive – and it works! The other texts that I have listed below were all made into movies, with varying degrees of success. The Lady Vanishes has become a classic film, and though the book gives us a stronger, sharper heroine, Margaret Lockwood’s interpretation of her in the film still gives us a gal of merit. When adapted to film, The Spiral Staircase was transported from the book’s contemporary setting to the early 1900s – which actually worked quite nicely. Notice George Brent as one of the brothers? My buddy Kathy Healey is actually distantly related to him. Although The Unseen makes an enjoyable suspense film, I like the novel’s heroine better, as she seems a bit stronger.
Cover image © 1969 Bantam Paperback Library