Hey, Finagle, over here!

I can’t beleiev you’ve heard of Thorne Smith–I thought Ukelele Ike and I were the only ones to bat about bizarre old pop-culture references like Thorne, Tiffany Thayer, Elinor Glyn, Milt Gross . . . Jiminy, I could go on and on!

You and Ike and I should get together . . . but I take it you’re not a New Yorker?

Aw shucks, Thorne Smith isn’t that obscure. They reprinted all his books back when I was in college in … ok, maybe he is obscure.

Unfortunately, as you’ve guessed, I’m just a country mouse who doesn’t get into the Big City very often. 'Sides, you and Ike would probably get drunk and try to crash the car into a tree.

Too bad though, I wouldn’t mind learning something about Eve…
Finagle (on Mispec Moor)

Oh, don’t worry, dear, I’m Ike’s designated driver. He soaks up the vodka, while I sit back and make veiled wisecracks. I wait till I get home before getting out the laudenum or the opium pipe.

What part of the country are you mousing around in?

As for dear Thorne Smith, he wrote one marvelous novel–sadly, he wrote it 27 times. You must try to find some early Tiffany Thayer–he did some of the greatest hard-boiled stuff of the early '30s (Call Her Savage, 13 Men, 13 Women). Try bookfinder.com or one of those similar sites.

Well, at least you and Ike and I can be the Internet Mrs. Parker, Mr. Benchley and, now, Mr. Woollcott.

Well, I’m nearsighted enough to be the Mr. Woollcott, but I’ll need to throw on a few extra pounds.

TOPPER and TOPPER TAKES A TRIP have recently been re-packaged and re-issued by Random House in trade paperback, complete with spiffy new cover art.

I have to admit, though, that while I have several Thorne Smith novels in my library, I have NEVER FINISHED ONE. I like the concept of them more than I like the books themselves. Smith’s idea of “fun” wears me out by about the sixtieth page, every time.

– Ukulele (“You remind my of my Grandfather’s coachman”) Ike.

Oh, Ike, darling—in real life you’re as whippet-thin as Geo. S. Kaufman. It’s only in those carnival-lens photos from Chicago that you could pass for Mr. Woollcott.

I’m not a big Thorne Smith fan either, but you can’t keep me away from Olive Higgins Prouty, J.P. McEvoy or Tiffany Thayer.

By the way, Ike, I have some '20s potboilers I’m through with—can I send 'em over to your office after the first of the year? Assuming the US mail system is still up and running?

Unless Finagle wants 'em . . .

Ike, I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who feels that Thorne Smith’s reach often exceeded his grasp. I’ll read the cover blurbs, think “this should be really funny,” but find myself bogging down during the actual reading.

Dibs on the Thayer if that’s in your pile of '20s potboilers. Libraries up here in the cultural wasteland that is the North Shore tend more towards the '90s potboilers.

You think Thorne Smith wrote the same book 27 times, try Patricia Cornwell or Michael Crichton. Those are some hours I’ll never get back again…

I read one Thorne Smith book and enjoyed it—then got a collection and halfway through went, “hey, you can’t fool me—these are all the same book with new titles slapped on 'em!”

Sorry, no Tiffany Thayers up for grabs—but you can find 'em on bookfinder.com and other similar sites. I highly recommend 13 Men, 13 Women and Call Her Savage. Also grab J.P. McEvoy’s Show Girl and Hollywood Girl.

The two I have are A Maid and a Million Men (about a society deb who goes undercover in WWI) and Count Bruga (a very odd Ben Hecht novel). Both mid-1920s vintage.

Who wants 'em? Ike? Nemo? Finagle?

P.S. North Shore? Y’all from Lawn Guyland, Finagle?


Just head north until the strip malls end, go another 11 or 12 miles until the mosquito density peaks, and hang a right.