The Wheel Spins (Basis for the Lady Vanishes) - Ethel White One of my favorite Hitchcock movies, and arguably his best British film, is The Lady Vanishes. It is a droll mix of humor and mystery concerning the disappearance of a old British lady on a train in Europe. Iris, another younger British woman, is the only one who remembers her and everyone else says the old woman doesn't exist.

The Wheel Spins by Ethel White is the novel on which The Lady Vanishes is based on. It is an excellent example of the movie being better than the book. This isn't that The Wheel Spins is bad. It just doesn't hold up that well. It tends to be a little dated. On one level, the tale is quite humorous but it tends to bog down the mystery. There is a lot of yammering about the duties of being British and lot of opportunities to be socially indiscreet. Iris's blight is interesting. She spends much time questioning her sanity but she is really a bit of a ditz, not as all resourceful as Hitchcock's charming heroine. Yet, it is fun in a poor man's Oscar Wilde-like Make-fun-of-those-staunchy-British way. It works best as a historical oddity for those who are tracing the British mystery from Wilkie Collins to Agatha Christa, of which Ethel White seem to be the bridge. But it is still a fairly enjoyable mystery.