Thorne Smith Books

by Michael D Walker on April 14, 2012

Thorne Smith Books


He was a friend and contemporary of such writers as James Thurber and Sinclair Lewis.  None of Thorne Smith’s books ever topped the best-sellers list, but his work has remained so popular with the public over the past 94 years that he has outsold nearly all of his more critically acclaimed peers.  He was Dorothy Parker’s friend and lover during her formative years as a writer, but neither she nor her fellow Algonquin Round Table wits so much as even mentioned him in any of their writings regarding those historic years of the Roaring Twenties.

New York City’s writing scene in the 1920s and 1930s flourished with creative ambition the likes of which the world hasn’t seen since. Lewis, Thurber, Parker, Robert Benchley, Alexander Woollcott, Ring Lardner, Robert Sherwood, and many more called Greenwich Village their home. They drew publicity while F. Scott Fitzgerald and others gathered critical praise, but quietly in their midst Thorne Smith practiced his magic: selling 40,000 copies each of his first two books, Biltmore Oswald and Out O’ Luck, while also being published in H. L. Mencken’s The Smart Set.  But it wasn’t until 1926 that he broke free from the shadows of his more famous friends, when he took the traditional ghost story and set it permanently on its ear with Topper.

Here is a complete list of Thorne Smith books for those who are completists or perhaps only know of his most popular novels.


Biltmore Oswald

Out O’ Luck

Haunts & By-Paths (1919)

Dream’s End

Topper (also published as The Jovial Ghosts in England)

Topper Takes A Trip

The Stray Lamb


The Bishop’s Jaegers

Did She Fall

The Glorious Pool

Rain In The Doorway

Skin & Bones

Lazy Bear Lane

Night Life Of The Gods

The Passionate Witch

Omnibus Editions:

The Thorne Smith 3-Bagger

The Thorne Smith 3-Decker

The Thorne Smith Triplets


{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Cherie Miranda April 14, 2012 at 12:32 AM

Thanks for the complete list! What’s the best place to find his books? Are they all still in print?

Cherie Miranda


Singles Dating Coach 4 Women April 14, 2012 at 9:25 AM

Hi Michael,

I’d only heard of Topper and was not familiar with any of Thorne Smith’s other work.

Happy Dating and Relationships,

April Braswell
Singles Dating Classes LA


Margarita April 14, 2012 at 10:31 AM

Thank you for sharing the list of Thorne Smith books. I am practicing photoreading and I want to read them all.


Clare Delaney April 14, 2012 at 11:54 AM

I enjoyed Thurber very much as a child, and I see some of the same quirkiness in Smith. – the Genuinely Green website


G.E. Moon II April 14, 2012 at 3:23 PM


I find it very interesting that from the moment I started reading your blog that the first person who jumped into my head was James Thurber. Thank you for sharing with us that Thorne Smith was a friend of contemporary of Mr. Thurber. I’ve alway been a big fan of, “The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty”.

Yours In Health!

G.E. Moon II


Dr. Wendy Schauer, D.C., R.K.C. April 14, 2012 at 3:30 PM

I am going to check the local library to see if they carry any of these books.

Yours In Health!

Dr. Wendy


Eva Palmer April 14, 2012 at 5:12 PM

Hi Michael!

Thorne Smith was a definitely prolific author! I definitely have to check what’s translated into Spanish!


Lyle R. Johnson April 14, 2012 at 7:32 PM

Are any of these available for download as ebooks?

They are certainly out of Copyright … I would really enjoy reading, again, “The Bishop’s Jaegers”



Body language of emotions April 15, 2012 at 1:13 AM

Michael, I have read plenty of books but I have to share with you I have nver heard of Thorne Smith but I will have to take a look at his books.
Scott Sylvan Bell

Now go implement!


Kevin Hogan April 15, 2012 at 3:46 AM

Thanks for the list, Michael!

Time for me to go to a bookstore.

Mark Hogan


Neil Dhawan April 15, 2012 at 10:27 AM

Very few movies remain so vividly ingrained in my mind … Topper is one such movie and I am so glad to finally start learning about the man who created such a masterpiece. As with most things, the book always seems to outshine a movie, so I will have to consider taking some time to read it.

Stay Amazing, Neil


Lyle R. Johnson April 15, 2012 at 5:29 PM

Thanks, again, for the info on Thorne Smith



Jennifer Battaglino April 16, 2012 at 7:02 PM

I will have to admit I have not heard of the titles but so happy you provided the list and your description makes me want to start reading!

Jennifer Battaglino


Patricia Luke June 19, 2012 at 5:52 AM

I tried for several months to buy the rights to do a screenplay of The Stray Lamb but since I had no agent or past experience to fall back on could not get past “go” and Stray Lamb will not be in the public domain for many years yet. How did others get past this hurdle? Do you have any idea? I tried the agent for the family but couldn’t find any info on how to approach the family members themselves. Movie-making has changed so much that this is a very viable movie project now. Also, a really good movie (or TV show) has never been made of Turnabout even though it spawned so many obvious parodies that it boggles the mind. Thorne Smith has been my favorite humorous writer since 1970.


GARY THOMAS September 23, 2016 at 5:56 AM

I would be very thankful to know,I have the book rain in the doorway.Two times it was signed by Helen mcdonald.I noticed,inside it says for HELEN KATHLEEN AND LILLIAN.Can you tell me if this is the helen he referred to.Could this be an important signature.thank you for any information on this…….


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