Nick Carter

Real Name

Nicholas Carter

First Appearance

The Old Detective's Pupil/The Mysterious Crime of Madison Square (1886)

Original Publisher

Street & Smith

Created by

John R. Coryell and Ormond G. Smith


Nick Carter, King of Detectives, was based out of an apartment on Madison Avenue in New York City and later out of Manchester. He was the son of detective Sim Carter, who taught him investigation techniques from a young age, and turned him into a fine physical specimine. Nick took on one of his father's cases, disguised as his father, to locate Mabel Livingston, the daughter of a banker. In the course of the investigation, his father was murdered. Nick felt compelled to follow in his father's footsteps.

Soon after his first case, Nick married Ethel Dalton and had a son named Ralph. Ralph was kidnapped by Nick's enemies and and taken to the Asian kingdom of Kurm, forcing Nick to travel half way around the world to save him. Ethel was later murdered in a hit ordered by a jealous Dazaar. It doesn't seem that Nick ever re-married. There are mentions of him having two children, possibly twin sons.

Nick generally kept a low profile and was a master of disguise. In fact, he spent so much time in disguise, only the people closest to him actually knew what he looked like. He used a few standard alternate identities including Detective Harvey Jones, Joshua Juniper and Thomas "Old Thunderbolt" Bolt (a shaggy old country detective).

Nick carried a tool kit and simple disguises with him at all times. He also kept guns up his sleeves, on spring activated devices, in addition to two other revolvers. He rarely drank or smoked, he would never swear, and he was not fond of pretense. Although only 5'4", he was tough and athletic, with at least one early description stating that he could "lift a horse with ease, and that too, while a heavy man is seated in the saddle" and "he can place four packs of playing cards together, and tear them in halves between his thumbs and fingers." He was nicknamed, "The Little Giant."

Nick had considerable resources, starting his own detective school, and owning several houses and a yacht called "The Gull." His mansion on Madison Avenue acted as a headquarters for his detective agency, and was even designed to hold prisoners that Nick wasn't ready to run over to the police. In the early days, Nick and his friends sometimes operated a little outside the law, breaking into places and searching them without a warrant and things of that nature.

Nick tracked down many master criminals, including his arch-enemy Dr. Quartz, Zanoni, The Woman Wizard, Dazaar, The Arch-Fiend, Zigomar and Fantômas. Other enemies included Baroness Latour, Burton Quintard, Dan Derrington, The Danley Brothers, The Bulwer Sisters, Jimmy Duryea, Scylla the Sea Robber and Zanabyah, among many, many others.

Public Domain Appearances

  • The Old Detective’s Pupil; or, The Mysterious Crime of Madison Square (1886)
  • Wall Street Haul; Or, A Bold Stroke For A Fortune (1887)
  • Fighting Against Millions; Or, The Detective in the Jewel Caves of Kurm (1889)
  • Nick Carter Detective Library, No. 1: The Solution of a Remarkable Case (1891)
  • Nick Carter Detective Library, No. 2: Nick Carter’s Quick Work Or, A Queen of Counterfeiters (1891)
  • The Mystery of St. Agnes' Hospital (1893)
  • The Crime of the French Café and Other Stories (1900)
  • With Links of Steel (1904)
  • The Great Spy System (1907)
  • A Woman at Bay (1907)

See Also

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