Ethel Line White was born in Abergavenny in Wales, in 1876, the daughter of an inventor who made his fortune with a patented dry-roofing process. Her early life was similarly prosaic; she worked as a civil servant in the Ministry of Pensions and although she wrote articles and poems as a child and later short stories, it wasn’t until she was over fifty that her first book was published.  Her first three books (The Wish-Bone, 1927, Twill Soon be Dark, 1929, and The Eternal Journey, 1930) were mainstream novels, but with her first crime thriller in 1931, Put Out the Light, she found her voice. In the 1930s and 40s she enjoyed huge success in the top rank of crime writers, as well known as Christie, Allingham and Sayers. Four of her books were made into films, the most famous being The Lady Vanishes, Alfred Hitchcock’s version of her novel The Wheel Spins.  Her last book They See in Darkness was published in 1944, the year she died.