A twentieth-century American author, he is best known for the Tuddleton Trotter Series and the Marceau Series. His densely-plotted novels contain elements of hysterical realism.
He began publishing stories in pulp magazines when he was in his mid-teens. He later graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology with a degree in electrical engineering.
At one point, his mother had him committed to an insane asylum.
He grew up in Chicago. He married Hazel Goodwin in 1919.
His books influenced the work of Neil Geiman.