Sunday, August 31, 2014
Rediscovering Thorne Smith
When I was a teenager my mother introduced me to the comedy novels of Thorne Smith. I found them delightful, and read and re-read her collection of half a dozen of them; later, when I came to this country, she gave me three of them to bring with me. (Carrying copies of an American author's books from South Africa back to the USA might seem like carrying coals to Newcastle, but there you have it.)
My copies of his books have been in storage (along with most of my library) for several years, and I'd forgotten about them, until today I stumbled across a British Web site that offers most of his books online, optimized for Web reading. (It seems the European copyright on them ran out some years ago, although they're still under copyright in the USA.) I've been spending some time this afternoon and evening renewing my acquaintance with my favorite of his books, 'The Night Life of the Gods'. Next in the reading queue are 'The Jovial Ghosts' (published in the USA as 'Topper', IIRC) and its sequel, 'Topper Takes A Trip'. (Both were filmed, along with a third movie, 'Topper Returns', that wasn't based on a Thorne Smith book. The first and third films are available on YouTube; if anyone knows where the second film can be found online, please let us know in Comments.)
If you've never read Thorne Smith, I highly recommend his books. They're somewhat dated to modern readers, but still a tonic for the insanity of the world today and a dose of laughter amid the frustrations of life. Read them online for free, or buy them in e-book format (and some in print). I plan to buy them in e-book format to replace my old, tattered, pre-World War II hardcovers.