Ethel Lina White was born in Abergavenny in Monmouthshire, Wales. 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 embarked on books. Her first three, published between 1927 and 1930, were mainstream novels. Her first crime novel, published in 1931, was Put Out the Light, and she went on to be one of the best-known crime writers of the 1930s and 1940s in Britain and the US. Her novel The Wheel Spins (1936) was made into the acclaimed film, The Lady Vanishes, by Alfred Hitchcock in 1938. Ethel Lina White died in London.