Captain Sharkey

Real Name

John Sharkey

First Appearance

"The Governor of St. Kitt's" (1897)

Created by

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Captain Sharkey is a villainous pirate originally featured in four short stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.


Captain John Sharkey was one of the most feared and sadistic pirates to operate in the Caribbean seas in the early 18th century. He's easily recognized by his menacing pale blue eyes, "red-rimmed like those of a white bull- terrier". He captained a pirate ship called the Happy Delivery.

Unlike most sailors, Sharkey has an extremely pale skin that even the equatorial sun won't tint, and seems in fact almost unaffected by the sun, as he's almost always seen wearing a heavy long coat. He's clean-shaven, has yellowed teeth, a thin nose and is going bald. He's also fond of the exclamation "Sink me!".

Sharkey has the uncanny ability to provoke fear with his presence, and is extremely sadistic, taking no qualms about abusing and even executing his own men. His brutal behavior towards the crew ultimately resulted in mutiny at least twice ("The Governor of St. Kitt's" and "The Blighting of Sharkey").

In one of these instances, Sharkey and his loyal second-in-command Ned Galloway were abandoned off the coast of the island of St. Kitt where Sharkey was captured and sentenced to be hanged, but managed to escape prison and disguise himself as the St. Kitt's governor (having secretly killed the real one). Under this disguise he was brought to England, where he and Galloway took hold of a fishing boat and escaped. He's back to his old ship the Happy Delivery in the next appearance, suggesting that he somehow recovered it, likely replacing his ex-crew with a new and more loyal one.

Public Domain Appearances

  • "The Governor of St. Kitt's", by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1897)
  • "The Two Barques", by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1897)
  • "The Voyage of Copley Banks", by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1897)
  • "The Blighting of Sharkey", by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1911)


  • It seems unlikely that all Captain Sharkey stories by Conan Doyle take place in the same continuity, as some of them tend to contradict each other. The most notable example would be how "The Voyage of Copley Banks" and "The Blighting of Sharkey" each provide very different accounts of the death of Sharkey.
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