If so, Laughter in the Dark would likely have a fairly secure spot among the lower rungs, along with bad plays like The Tragedy of Mister Morn and certain early (Glory) and late (Look at the Harlequins!) novels.
Which, of course, is not to say it's all that bad -- quite a fun read, actually -- just not VN at the height of his intricate powers. (Maybe it would better to call that list: "Nabokov: From Most to Least.")
Part of the problem, as Brian Boyd pointed out in Vladimir Nabokov: The Russian Years, is that this cruel tale of fate, which has echoes of The Blue Angel -- old man, young woman, naivete, lust, betrayal, et al -- is that it's just a little too obviously commercial. Like all writers, VN wanted a crack at the movie market, and he wrote a story that he hoped would be snapped up by the studios.
"Geared to the clack of the clapboard," Boyd wrote, "it cannot like the other novels open all the shutters and doors and lids of the mind."
Originally written in Russian, it was translated into English as the work of "Vladimir Nabokoff," but Nabokov disliked the translation so much that he extensively re-did the job himself.
As John Colapinto discovers in the latest New Yorker, the fault wasn't just the translation. It was the original book, which an older, wiser VN rewrote, lifting it from awful to (by his standards) mediocre.
It has been said of the Beatles that there is not a clunker of a song in their oeuvre because they simply never let the bad stuff get released. The same might be said of Nabokov—for “Camera Obscura” shows that he was indeed capable of writing a second-rate novel. (He knew it, and rewrote it.)