THIS section of my site collects the humourous novels of the late (James) Thorne Smith (1893-1934), including such classic fantasies as The Jovial Ghosts (AKA The Misadventures of Topper) and The Night Life of the Gods, his detective novel Did She Fall? plus one short story, Birthday Present.
These novels are out of copyright in Europe, but are still covered under US law. For this reason American sites are strongly advised not to copy these files!
My eventual goal is to write a role playing game based on the ideas of magic and humour in these stories and to make the e-texts available for scholastic purposes. I'm still finding occasional errors, and readers noticing anything that looks odd are asked to contact me; please quote the title, chapter number, and include the context of the error. If you have a copy of the book in question please check first. If you have a different edition to the one I used for a given story, especially American editions, I would be grateful for information on any differences. See below for some of the points that interested me but have now been resolved. For more on Thorne Smith see the Thorne Smith Haunts and By-Paths site.
Several people, most notably Malcolm Farmer and William McCabe, helped with scanning and proofreading. My thanks to everyone involved; see the individual stories for further credits. All files are HTML with separate files for each chapter; I'm gradually adding other formats, but it may take a while. Single-file HTML and 8-bit text versions can be found on Malcolm Farmer's site. Any future updates and additional sites will probably be mentioned by The Online Books Page, a huge archive of links to online copyright-expired works.
Novels in order of publication:
Another fantasy sometimes attributed to Smith, The Passionate Witch (1941, a source for the film I Married A Witch and TV series Bewitched) could not be included since a large proportion of the text was written after Smith's death by Norman H. Matson; it remains in European copyright. A sequel, Bats In The Belfry (1942), is entirely by Matson. Two other works by Smith have not been included because I've been unable to obtain copies: Dream's End (1927), a "serious" psychological and supernatural novel and Lazy Bear Lane (1931) a children's book.
An illustrated version of Biltmore Oswald, The Diary of a Hapless Recruit (1918), a series written while Smith was serving in the US Navy, is on line from Project Gutenberg.
I'd be grateful for information on errors and text variants. The following points have now been resolved:
Last revisions to stories - 16/12/05: Fixed errors in chapter numbering in The Jovial Ghosts and The Nightlife of the Gods