Books: Madcap

2 minute read

THE GLORIOUS POOL—Thome Smith— Donbleday, Doran ($2).

The things that make some people laugh, often seem no laughing matter at all to others. One thing that has made thousands of people laugh is Author Thome Smith.* Not all his devotees think him continuously, screamingly funny, but their votes show that he stood high in popularity among U. S. madcaps. His latest, posthumous japery†is neither better nor worse than his past performances. Readers who found him amusing will chuckle, readers who did not will yawn, as heartily as ever over The Glorious Pool.

As usual in a Thorne Smith story, the situation is extreme, the characters more so. An aged roue calls on his equally aged mistress, takes a turn in the garden and discovers the extraordinarily rejuvenating qualities of the swimming pool. His mistress follows suit; an all-night revel ensues, joined by the local fire brigade. Towards morning the old roue, now young and vigorously drunk, unfortunately suffers another immersion in the pool, and is rejuvenated to infancy before he can be rescued. But he still continues to have some of the appetites of a man of the world, calls mewlingly for whiskey and cigars. As dawn’s curtain descends, the masqueraders are rapidly resuming their proper shapes.

Author Smith’s humor depends chiefly on situation but he has the reputation of writing wise-crackling dialog. Random samples: ” ‘Say, officer,’ continued the voice, ‘let’s waive the dog for a moment.’ ‘Don’t see what good that’s going to do,’ grumbled the sergeant. ‘It certainly won’t help the dog any to go waving him about. . . .’ “

” ‘Another yellow face?’ gasped the officer. ‘Sure it wasn’t the same one back?’ ‘You mean the back of the same yellow face?’ came the voice.”

*Over a quarter of a million of Thorne Smith’s books have been sold. Largest seller: Biltmore Oswald. His recent novels average a sale of 25,000 each, keep on selling. † Thorne Smith died last June (TIME, July 2).

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