The Lady Vanishes

The political atmosphere of the inter-war years was sharply divided between those who thought
the extreme left could solve Europe's problems, and those who desired leadership from the
extreme right. There were very few moderates, and this situation kept the governments of Britain,
France, and Eastern Europe in constant turmoil, swinging wildly between one extreme and the
next. Extreme viewpoints won out in the form of totalitarian states in Europe and communism took
hold in the Soviet Union, while fascism controlled Germany, Italy and Spain.
The extremist nature of these disparate ideologies turned European politics into an arena for sharp
conflict, erupting in Spain in the form of the Spanish Civil War, after which Francisco Franco became
dictator. Romania was ripped apart by a military coup led by King Carol. Benito Mussolini became
the most powerful man in Italy and in Germany, Adolf Hitler's fascist Nazi Party annexed Austria
and prepared once again to make war on Europe. With Britain and France tied up in their own
affairs, the path to World War II lay clear.

The Plot.

The Plot
Iris Carr, a young English society woman, is waiting for the train to Trieste She faints and
concludes that it must have been sunstroke, but manages to get on the crowded train. She finds
herself in a compartment with a couple called the Todhunters, a German Baroness and Miss
Winifred Froy.
Miss Froy explains that she is a teacher and Iris realises, fellow hotel guests the Reverend Mr
and Mrs Barnes and the Misses Flood-Porter are also aboard the train. She spies a heavily

bandaged body in another compartment, supervised by a sinister-looking doctor apparently
taking an accident victim to hospital in Trieste.
Iris and Miss Froy have tea in the restaurant car and on returning, Iris takes tablets for her
headache. When she awakens, Miss Froy is not there.
All her fellow passengers deny having seen Miss Froy. Iris eventually finds two Englishmen who
speak the local language; Max Hare, a young engineer and his travelling companion, 'the
Professor'. All the passengers still deny Miss Froy’s existence. A lady dressed identically to Miss
Froy reappears, but it isn’t her – it’s Frau Kummer. The Flood-Porters and the Barnes have their
own reasons for wanting to get back to England without delay and continue to deny Miss Froy’s
existence. The 'Todhunters', remain aloof and distant and play no part in the events. Iris begins
to believe that she has been hallucinating.
The doctor convinces Max to surreptitiously administer a sleeping-draught to Iris; as it takes
effect, she summons the strength to enter the next compartment and rip off the bandages from
the 'victim'……….what happens next will shock you!



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