The Lady Vanishes by Ethel Lina White

This is one of the books suggested to me which I listed in Books I was recommended. It was one of the last batch of books I got from the HK library.

I had not heard of this book or seen it on the screen in any form. The start of the book was slow going. It is not a long winding tale but the introduction, although well done had my attention drifting, and I had to pick up the book between breaks. It was only till our leading lady, our damsel in distress gets on her train that the story picks up the pace (just as the train does).
Iris Carr is wealthy, modern and English in a foreign country. The author puts forward the distinct mental space that travellers occupied at the time when it comes to language and the customs of ‘locals’. Iris decides to travel back home alone because of a quarrel that she finds distasteful. We are introduced to the other people at her hotel, not least to show us how much she has alienated them all. This will have a lot of bearing on future events. There is a dizzying manner to the way things unfold because just like her, we are never sure why people say the things they do ( for the most part, until the reveals). I was unsure whether I was liking the book until the very end. We have extra knowledge of the passengers of the train, and when their duplicitousness comes to the forefront, each reason is quite surprising but also understandable (if not plain selfish).
Although I have described most of the narration, I have forgotten to say what it is that Iris faces on the train. There is a woman who befriends her and then vanishes. Iris not only has to convince people that she disappeared but that she existed at all! It is vague in places but overall was different and entertaining and a very vivid character study of people in general.

I would read another book by the author, but my rating reflects the time it took for me to sink my teeth into the story. Kate enjoyed the book and her review is :here

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