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Old 08-26-2012, 05:44 AM   #1
GrannyGrump
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Smith, Thorne: The Jovial Ghosts / Topper. v1. 25 August 2012

J. Thorne Smith (1892-1934) was the author of “Topper / The Jovial Ghosts,” “Topper Takes a Trip,” “The Night Life of the Gods,” “The Stray Lamb,” “Turnabout,” “The Glorious Pool,” etc.
“Topper” was published in 1926.
Public Domain in countries where copyright is Life+70.

Thorne Smith is a master of urbane wit and sophisticated repartee. Topper, his best-known work, is the hilarious, ribald comedy on which the hit television show and movie (starring Cary Grant) were based.

It all begins when Cosmo Topper, a law-abiding, mild-mannered bank manager, decides to buy a secondhand car, only to find it haunted by the ghosts of its previous owners--the reckless, feckless, frivolous couple who met their untimely demise when the car careened into an oak tree. The ghosts, George and Marion Kerby, make it their mission to rescue Topper from the drab "summer of suburban Sundays" that is his life--and they commence a series of madcap adventures that leave Topper, and anyone else who crosses their path, in a whirlwind of discomfiture and delight.

As enchanting today as it was when first published in 1926, Topper has set the standard in American pop culture for such mischievous apparitions as those seen in ‘The Ghost and Mrs. Muir,’ ‘Heaven Can Wait,’ ‘Beetlejuice,’ and ‘Bewitched.’
—Goodreads

------
An excerpt
Quote:
The first stage of Mr. Topper’s secret life dated from the Saturday on which he purchased the Kerby’s ill-fated car from Mark, the ecstatic garage owner. And this stage lasted only a week, coming to a grand anticlimax on the following Saturday. But during that time Mr. Topper, a novice in secret living, was hard pressed to maintain his customary calm either at home or abroad. The fire was no longer banked in his eyes, but seemed to be smouldering through, and occasionally he found himself scrutinizing his friends as if they were total strangers.

His introductory driving lesson was of an anatomical nature. The automobile was discussed to its most intimate parts, from which only the finest mechanism could have refrained from shrinking. The lesson completed, Mr. Topper abjured Mark to silence and returned to his home, where he settled his feud with the leg of lamb through the process of absorption. In other words, it became one hundred per cent. Topper and for that reason acquired merit while Topper acquired flesh.

“I knew you would like it,” said Mrs. Topper as though she were addressing a skeptical cannibal who had just made a meal of a questionable victim. “I’ve always said you liked lamb.”

Mr. Topper could not deny the truth of her words, but in spite of their truth they made him wish that he could uneat the lamb. Not knowing how to do this decently, he smiled at his wife and said, “I walked farther than I thought. Worked up an appetite.”

The false smile and the black lie quelled the rebellion in his stomach. Without realizing it, Topper was already far gone in sin.
------

I hadn't intended to do the two Topper books, as there are already EPUB versions here in the MobileRead library, but I was on a Thorne Smith roll. Americanized spelling, formatted punctuation (curly quotes, emdashes). Cross-linked chapter headings to/from an inline ToC. Drop-caps and Large-caps versions.

fiction, humor, ghosts, supernatural fantasy
This work is assumed to be in the Life+70 public domain OR the copyright holder has given specific permission for distribution. Copyright laws differ throughout the world, and it may still be under copyright in some countries. Before downloading, please check your country's copyright laws. If the book is under copyright in your country, do not download or redistribute this work..

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File Type: epub SmithThorne-Topper-DropCap.epub (411.1 KB, 157 views)
File Type: epub SmithThorne-Topper-LgCap.epub (411.1 KB, 109 views)
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