A Man With Four Identities

| February 9, 2013

Nick Carter Library Issue #9

A Man With Four Identities;
Or, The Little Giant’s Greatest Problem
By Frederic Van Rensselaer Dey

This is issue #9 in the Nick Carter Detective Library, dime novel series. Originally published October 3, 1891 by Street & Smith. Written by Frederic Van Rensselaer Dey.

Most detectives would be satisfied with having to deal with suspects who have two identities. The problem is to identify the correct one. In his latest case Nick Carter meets a man with not only two identities but four identities. It is enough to make the keenest detectives head spin.

When Frederic Dey was hired to write the stories for the Nick Carter Detective Library in 1891 he was also asked to provide the titles for the first ten stories in the series. That way Street & Smith could list the titles by way of advertising what was to come. It is doubtful whether Dey knew what each story would be about until he actually sat down to write it. By the time he came to write this one did he still remember the premise on which the title was based?

Of course, the story begins with a murder. Like Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol there is no doubt that the man who is shot is dead and the reader is a witness to the act even if he is not told the name of the killer.

This case involves a number of very interesting characters, each one deserving of a chapter to himself, from banker and broker Fenwick Murray, so methodical one could set ones watch by his actions, to Old Silence the mute whom Nick encounters to Reubenstein the Jewish pawnbroker. In the course of events Nick demonstrates more than one of his abilities and disguises himself as so many people the reader may be excused for becoming confused. Trapped in an underground passage Nick Carters ability to recognize Chicks footsteps on the floor above him must have brought gasps of surprise to the most jaded detective fan. Using the blade of his knife he taps out a message in Morse code to alert his able assistant that he is nearby. On another occasion when Nick realizes he is being followed he doesnt hesitate but allows the man to catch up with him so that he can overpower him and leave him tied up and safely out of his way.

As a master of disguise Nick Carter is able to make use of a number of dialects. His Irish brogue is a match for Reubensteins Jewish dialect in conversations that are a delight to follow.

The reader should avoid coming upon the final paragraph of dialogue in the story too soon. It is a masterful summation of the case and a brilliant demonstration of just how the crime was committed and how the perpetrator can have been a man with four identities!

Introduction by J. Randolph Cox
Former Editor of Dime Novel Round-Up.
World’s Leading Authority on the Nick Carter Detective Series.

Hand-typed and converted to PDF

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Category: Nick Carter

Dave Buchanan

About the Author ()

While I'm not the author of the books on this website, I'm a treasure hunter of sorts, collecting, archiving and reproducing rare, out-of-print books from some of the most talented writers in the world. Dime Novel Castle was created to be an online library featuring some of the world’s most famous characters from the dime novel era. My goal is to create textually correct reproductions of select rare, out-of-print Dime Novels and serials, published from 1860 thru 1915. My team of researchers has searched all over the country in order to locate the original newspapers, books and manuscripts. Each page of the original publication is scanned and archived in order to preserve the author's place in history and pass these great stories on to future generations.

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