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About the Author: Thorne Smith

James Thorne Smith, Jr. was an American writer of humorous supernatural fantasy fiction under the byline Thorne Smith. He is best known today for the two Topper novels, comic fantasy fiction involving sex, much drinking and supernatural transformations. With racy illustrations, these sold millions of copies in the 1930s and were equally popular in paperbacks of the 1950s.

Smith was born in Annapolis, Maryland, the son of a Navy commodore and attended Dartmouth College. Following hungry years in Greenwich Village, working part-time as an advertising agent, Smith achieved meteoric success with the publication of Topper in 1926. He was an early resident of Free Acres, a social experimental community developed by Bolton Hall according to the economic principles of Henry George in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. He died of a heart attack in 1934 while vacationing in Florida.


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Goodreads rating: 3.81

Paperback, by Read Books

ISBN10: 1444627368 | ISBN13: 9781444627367

The beloved characters--mortal and immortal--of Topper return in this uproarious romp through the south of France. One of Thorne Smith's best-loved comedies, it proves once again that he is the undisputed master of urbane wit and sophisticated repartee.
        Cosmo Topper, the mild-mannered bank manager who was persuaded to take a walk on the wild side by the ghosts of George and Marion Kerby in Topper, finds himself reunited with his dyspeptic wife for an extended vacation on the Riviera. But he doesn't have long to enjoy the peace and quiet before the irrepressible Kerbys materialize once again and start causing fracases, confusing the citizenry, alarming the gendarmes, getting naked, and turning every occasion into revelry or melee. Soon Marion decides that Topper as a ghost would be even more laughs than Topper in the flesh. And all she needs to arrange is one simple little murder.

Born in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1892, educated at Dartmouth, THORNE SMITH was an early cohort of Dorothy Parker's. He achieved literary success in 1926 with the publication of Topper and went on to publish nine novels in the next eight years. He earned a passionate following among both critics and readers before his death, at the age of forty-two, in 1934.

CAROLYN SEE is the author of nine books. Her latest novel is The Handyman. She lives in Pacific Palisades, California.

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