Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Ebony Swan” as Want to Read:
The Ebony Swan
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Ebony Swan

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  685 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
"Energetic and richly textured...If terror and murder can be rendered ladylike, Phyllis Whitney is just the lady to do it."
Susan Prentice has come home to Virgina's eastern shores, to the very spot where her mother fell to her death twenty-five years before, also the home of Alex Montoro, her proud, intense grandmother. But Susan's arrival
Hardcover, 220 pages
Published May 1st 1992 by Doubleday (first published 1992)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jan 30, 2011 Sarah-Dianne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-books
I consider this type of mystery to be the best kind. It keeps you on your toes, but it isn't to scary to keep you up! This was a great read!
Jun 07, 2015 Angie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, suspense
3.5 stars...

My first Phyllis Whitney! I enjoyed this as a light mystery-suspense with a little romance. The characters were a bit 1-dimensional, but I wasn't bothered by it. It felt like a "gentle" mystery. Kind of like an American-style Victoria Holt. Totally clean. I will definitely be reading more of hers. Not sure how I missed her yeas ago!! I can see where her writing has influenced today's gothic writers.
Judy Tolley
Aug 15, 2011 Judy Tolley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve read books by Phyllis Whitney for many years and have never found a book of hers I didn’t like. This was no exception. A young woman goes to visit her grandmother she hasn’t seen since she was a small child. Her mother was killed mysteriously when she was young and they lived with her grandmother but she has blocked out what she saw. Her grandmother, an ex ballerina who danced the Swan Lake at one point, has many secrets she imparts during their visit. Good read.
Scarlet Drakonin
I don't have the exact read start and finish dates on many books I have read this year. The dates are approximated, as I have been in & out of the hospital, and on bed rest, and read 2-5 books a day depending on the book & length and my ability to focus. All dates are approximated, by month.
May 22, 2012 Meredith rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-general
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dayna Smith
When Susan Prentice returns to her childhood home in Virginia 25 years after witnessing the death of her mother, Dolores, she wishes only to become reacquainted with her formidable grandmother, Alex, a former ballerina. But Susan finds herself isolated in a hostile environment, her relatives obviously fearful that she might recall hitherto repressed memories of the tragedy. Her old playmate Peter (now Alex's physician) has survived the murder of his wife a year ago, a crime that might be linked ...more
Rhonda Rae Baker
Apr 28, 2009 Rhonda Rae Baker rated it liked it
I've never been much of a mystery and/or even romantic novel reader but was attracted to this one as I like swans.

This was a great novel and I enjoyed the characters. It fit me very well because one of the protagonists was a dancer in her youth and the other protagonist has other mysteries that I shared.

The author did an exceptional job telling the story and I was caught up with events from the start. I have two other novels by this author that will be read now...her talent is exceptional and en
Feb 15, 2010 Luella rated it it was amazing
I love this book. It is added because I am taking the Reader's Advisory course at COD. And this author is supposed to be the Queen, among others, of Romantic Suspense. But I think she's old school though.
A classic Phyllis Whitney story about a former prima ballerina, whose granddaughter follows clues into the past revealing scandal and sometimes murder.
Jun 13, 2013 Rage rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic-romance
this seems like a warning against letting your regrets fester as you grow old and/or defining yourself only by how others see you.
Apr 29, 2010 Rusty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a nice, comfortable read. I like mysteries without too much blood and gore and Whitney's writing fits this description. Very good mystery writer.
Jun 12, 2009 H.M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes suspense
Recommended to H.M. by: Mom
Shelves: mystery
This book really keeps you on your toes, right up until the very end. Now I understand why people say that Phillis A. Whitney is the master of her craft.
Barbara Woodford
Apr 25, 2014 Barbara Woodford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A real thriller! The ending was totally unexpected. It kept you in suspense throughout. I hadn't been reading her but I certainly will now.
Pamela Grant
Oct 24, 2009 Pamela Grant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been reading Whitney books since I was very young and I love them.
May 06, 2013 Murugami rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
creative,full of suspence.
Chioma Uzoma
Jul 21, 2009 Chioma Uzoma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read!
Clara Weinberger
Aug 14, 2014 Clara Weinberger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great mystery keep you guessing and wondering what would happen next.
Sep 25, 2008 Cws added it
Shelves: adult-fiction
F Whi
Ea Solinas
Apr 28, 2015 Ea Solinas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Phyllis A. Whitney's books tend to have certain repeating themes -- you'll have a young woman with a mysterious past, cryptic half-hints, family drama, some sinister relations, a murder or two, a beautiful setting, and a handsome guy.

Don't worry, you'll find all that floating around in "The Ebony Swan." But the focus in this romantic thriller is more on the young woman's grandmother and how the misdeeds of her youth have spread poison into the lives of everyone around her. The current-day romanc
Jan 30, 2013 Suzana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked it, but not as much as her others. This one bothered me on several levels and is darker.

For someone who has lived her life and all the mistakes she has made, Alex didn't seem like learned from them as well as she should have. Some of the supporting characters (several actually) were disturbing. The only characters I liked were Peter and Susan. They were the only ones who seemed "real" and likeable.

Things I thought about as I read: The lies we tell ourselves to make us feel better about
Feb 04, 2016 Pat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read quite a few Phyllis Whitney books years ago and have recently rediscovered her. Her stories were always involved with all sorts of twists and turns in the relationships between the characters. She also uses very different types of settings. This one took place on Virginia's eastern shore, partly on Tangier Island, so some interesting historic background was provided. I thought the book ended well.
Jan 29, 2016 Jeanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeanne by: Nancy Olson, Carol Rasmussen
I've never before read anything by Phyllis Whitney. I enjoyed this mystery a lot. There are enough characters to keep it interesting. The relationship between the characters was very intimately intertwined. The book starts out with an ominous warning that is thread throughout the story but whose meaning isn't revealed until the very end. I like the way the author develops an affection between Susan and her estranged grandmother that doesn't come easily.
May 30, 2015 B.E. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Phyllis Whitney is a comfort read for me. I read as many of her books as I could get my hands on as a teenager in a rural community. Somehow I missed this one. It's as good as all the others I remember. She nailed romantic suspense early in its inception. The tortured hero, the strong - but uncertain - heroine, the tangled web of lies and deceit and mystery. All culminating in a satisfying resolution and a happily ever after. :happy sigh:
Jul 27, 2008 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sarah
This book had all the same elements she always uses...although the way she wrapped up the book, was much different than her usual, as well as she had two heroines...I also for the first time ever, guessed exactly who the killer was!
Lisa Greer
Jun 17, 2009 Lisa Greer rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: die hard Whitney fans
This one is only for those who are true fans of everything Whitney has ever written. Otherwise, I'd say to skip this one. My full review is here:
An enjoyable and interesting mystery with some good character development, though a few things were never explained at the end.
May 12, 2011 Sharon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Too much agonizing over things untold until pages later. This book could have been much shorter and better.
Jan 18, 2015 Lynne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This took me back to high-school when I read lots of books by this author. They are easy to read. They are a mystery with a touch a romance.
Jan 12, 2011 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: truckee-library
This was a quick read, enjoyable, but nothing spectacular. Typical girl goes home to find herself, solves a mystery and falls in love with the handsome bachelor.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Legend of the Seventh Virgin
  • The Stormy Petrel
  • Ravenscroft
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia -
Phyllis Ayame Whitney (September 9, 1903 – February 8, 2008) was an American mystery writer. Rare for her genre, she wrote mysteries for both the juvenile and the adult markets, many of which feature exotic locations. A review in The New York Times once dubbed her "The Queen of the American Gothics".

She was born in Japan to American parents and spent her ear
More about Phyllis A. Whitney...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »