At one time pretty much everyone knew the name of Horace de Vere Cole, the greatest practical joker ever. But there has never been a full biography of this fascinating character, because his family have, until now, denied access to his papers. Finally, Downer now has the full cooperation of the family. Cole's comic inventiveness was extraordinary - he once organised a party in which all the guests had the word 'bottom' in their surname (i.e. Winterbottom). Much more than a catalogue of his pranks, though, this biography is a fascinating glimpse into a fascinating man.