Dime Novel Castle – New Additions


Last Update: Friday, February 8, 2013 – 6:00 P.M. CST


Nick Carter Detective 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.

The emphasis is on detection in this tale, as Nick Carter is led from one clue to another as he attempts to unravel the murder of a bank guard and the theft of a package from the bank president’s office. It is curious, though, that neither the bank president nor the owner of the package will reveal its contents.

Then there is the disconcerting fact throughout their investigation that whoever Nick and his assistant, Chick Carter, are up against somehow knows in advance what their plans are as soon as they make them–and consequently seems to be three steps ahead of them at every turn. All in all, it is an engaging mystery, one that will keep you guessing what it is all about until the very last paragraph.



Nick Carter Detective Library

Nick Carter Before The Mast
Or, A Sea Mystery
By Frederic Van Rensselaer Dey

This is issue #8 in the Nick Carter Detective Library, originally published September 26, 1891 by Frederic Van Rensselaer Dey.

It is as complex a case as any and involves smuggling, murder and mistaken identity. Charles and Robert Gordon are brothers and are suspected of being smugglers as well. When Charles Gordon’s wife is murdered Byrnes suspects the murderer to be her own sister Lotus Benson. He also suspects that Charles Gordon and the yacht owner Charles Cummings to be one and the same. Byrnes asks Nick to investigate so the ace detective and his assistant Chick row out to the Water Witch. For once Nick is puzzled and cannot find anything on board the ship that suggests an answer to any part of the mystery.



Nick Carter Detective Library

Old Thunderbolt, Locomotive
Or, The Package in the Midnight Mail
By Frederic Van Rensselaer Dey

This is issue #7 in the Nick Carter Detective Library, originally published September 19, 1891 by Frederic Van Rensselaer Dey.

Bill Lewis is the engine driver known as “Old Thunderbolt” and the railroad engine itself is known as “Old Thunderbolt, Locomotive.” Bill Lewis is so exhausted that he literally falls asleep at the switch during the run to La Junta, when a stranger boards the engine and shoots Patsy Flynn, the fireman, the engine performs automatically even without Lewis’s hand on the throttle and pulls into La Junta ahead of schedule.

Nick becomes involved with the engine and its driver after receiving a telegram from the railroad. There is an unusual crime: a package containing $75,000 that was sent to La Junta by the midnight mail never reached its destination. The authorities were suspicious that something was wrong and sent two packages, addressed to Jasper Colton, one containing the money and the other some socks! The package with the socks was delivered safely and on time.



Nick Carter Detective Library

Nick Carter in Philadelphia;
Or, Night Hawks of the Quaker City
By Frederic Van Rensselaer Dey

This is issue #6 in the Nick Carter Dime Novel Library, originally published September 12, 1891 by Frederic Van Rensselaer Dey.

The city of Philadelphia has come under siege by a secret society of nearly 300 people known as “The Night Hawks”, complete with men in symbolic bird masks who gather for meetings in feathered rooms.

Nick Carter’s task is to penetrate the many layers of personnel that make up the murderous organization, discover the ringleader and break up the mysterious organization, of which, assassinating it newest members seems to be a constant preoccupation.



Nick Carter Detective Library

The Cipher Letter;
Or, Nick Carter’s Iron Nerve
By Frederic Van Rensselaer Dey

This is issue #5 in the Nick Carter Dime Novel Library, originally published September 5, 1891 by Frederic Van Rensselaer Dey.

Nick Carter is noted for being resourceful and this case certainly requires him to use all of his resources. There are two cipher messages, one more difficult to solve than the other, but he works them out to his satisfaction and that of the reader who is allowed to follow his reasoning in some detail. It is Nick’s wife Ethel who finds the first cipher concealed in a tube buried in the dirt in an urn in Madison Square and brings it to her husband who does not recognize its value at first. He is more intrigued by the mysterious letter received by Inspector Byrnes of the New York Police Department even though he thinks it a hoax. Still, he agrees to investigate when Byrnes asks his help and immediately begins disguising himself. The Inspector praises Nick’s ability with disguises, but the detective shrugs off such praise by saying that he has made it the study of his life and adds “All things are possible when one is determined to accomplish them.”

The case involves an abducted child, a retired blind banker named Archibald Kempton who is the target of a murder plot, and a scheme to steal an inheritance. In his disguise as a detective named Philips, Nick is trapped in an apartment that is set on fire. Unable to find a way out through doors, windows, or even through the walls, Nick escapes by ripping up the carpet and the floorboards and kicking his way into the room below.



Nick Carter Detective Library

One Against Twenty-One;
Or, The Ranch Robbery
By Frederic Van Rensselaer Dey

This is issue #4 in the Nick Carter Dime Novel Library, originally published August 29, 1891 by Frederic Dey.

Detective Nick Carter is called to Inspector Byrnes’ office and asked if he will undertake a case in the mining camp of Hellion City, Nevada. The detective is given $10,000 in expenses to go there and learn what it is the townspeople want him to do for them. He will receive an additional payment at the successful completion of the case. Intrigued by this, Nick undertakes the trip from New York City to the far west. He needs a change anyway, he says, and this just fits the bill.



Nick Carter Detective Library #3

A Million Dollar Check;
Or, The Little Giant at Work
By Frederic Van Rensselaer Dey

This is issue #3 in the Nick Carter Detective Library dime novel series, originally published August 22, 1891.

Emily Loomis brings the story to Nick Carter of how her father was robbed of a fortune and how that discovery caused his death. Nick spends much of his investigation interrogating other characters (not necessarily suspects) and in trying to decipher a name signed to a drawing that holds a key to the solution of what mystery there is in this story.



New York Detective Library

Old Sleuth’s Triumph;
Or, “Piping” the Bronx Mystery
By Old Sleuth

This is issue #3 in the Old Sleuth dime novel series, originally published in the weekly “Fireside Companion” story paper for 25 weeks – from February 26, 1883 to August 13, 1883..

Old Sleuth is called out of retirement when everyone else has failed to find a clue. What seems like an almost impossible task, considering the time that has elapsed before Old Sleuth takes up the case is quickly dismissed as the famous detective doggedly uncovers one clue after another before unraveling the once unfathomable mystery.



New York Detective Library

Old King Brady’s Great Reward
Or, The Haselhurst Secret
By A New York Detective

This is issue #3 in the Old King Brady dime novel series, first published in The New York Detective Library on January 9, 1886.

Old King Brady really has his hands full this time. Wall Street banker, Thomas Birnie, has been murdered outside New York city, in the library of Haselhurst, his opulent New York mansion. The library has been locked from the inside, the windows have been bolted likewise, no one has entered the room from the chimney – or escaped from it, either, and yet Mr. Birnie has been stabbed to death. Old King Brady takes on the case because of the prominence of the victim, and he investigates every clue with his customary thoroughness. But he gets more than he bargained for when he is attacked by ghosts at midnight and encounters Birney’s walking corpse, and before it is all over he is nearly burned alive. A good old dark house mystery that should thoroughly satisfy.



New York Detective Library

Old King Brady’s Triumph
By A New York Detective
This is issue #2 in the Old King Brady dime novel series, first published in The New York Detective Library on December 5, 1885.

A major New York city bank has lost $10,000. One of its bank tellers is a suspect, but nothing can be proved. Wanting to avoid publicity, the bank President decides to call in Old King Brady to investigate. Brady follows the suspected employee from work, when they both get on the elevated railway. Brady remains alone in the back of the car, while his suspect rides up front with another passenger. When the vehicle comes to the end of its route and asks everyone to get off, the suspect does not move. When the passenger beside him moves, the bank teller slumps over dead, the victim of a gunshot in the back of the head. There are no clues. There are no suspects. And thus begins another adventure of Old King Brady as he unravels the mystery of the missing bank money as well as the murder of its chief suspect.

Old King Brady was the first detective in dime novel fiction to appear on a regular basis; he appeared in print on average about once a month from his debut in November 1885 through mid-1894. There are about 104 of these stories.

Finally, Brady performs his duties like a real detective; there is an air of realism about the man. He questions suspects, gathers clues, weighs evidence, draws conclusions until he has cornered his prey. Along the way of each tale, though, is plenty of action, enough to satisfy any dime novel detective fan.



Frank Reade Library

Frank Reade and His Steam Man of the Plains;
Or, The Terror of the West

By “NONAME”

The first adventure of Frank Reade, Sr.
Published on October 5, 1876
Frank Reade Library #12

Frank Reade, 19th-century boy scientist extraordinare, has invented a vehicle. It is a wagon carried by a Steam Man, a sort of robotic-like creation with arms and legs that can run 50 m.p.h. for long stretches of time as it carries its passengers in a wagon behind it.

While Frank and his cousin Charley are exploring the untamed American West with the Steam Man as their method of locomotion, they come across a wagon train that is being attacked by Indians. And thus their series of adventures begins. Soon they are involved with several others in an effort to defeat two cannibalistic tribes of Indians and a cruel and ruthless outlaw band led by Captain Sam Slasher.

The Steam Man of the Plains; or, The Terror of the West was originally printed as a serial in the story-paper, The Boys of New York from February 28, 1876 to April 24, 1876. It was written by Harry Enton, a pseudonym of Harold Cohen, (1854-1927). It was reprinted in The Five Cent Wide Awake Weekly in 1883. Our text comes from the December 10, 1892 edition of The Frank Reade Library.

This dime novel is the first adventure of Frank Reade, Sr., titled; The Steam Man of the Plains; or, The Terror of the West, (1876) but the title was altered in later printings. After four adventures the grown up Frank retired and in 1882 turned the inventing business over to his son, Frank Reade, Jr., a true chip of the old block. Frank, Jr. continued inventing and adventuring through nearly 200 stories.



Tip Top Weekly #1

Frank Merriwell;
Or, First Days at Fardale

Created by George William Patten,
also known as William Gilbert Patten, or “Gil” Patten

aka, Burt L. Standish

Published on April 18, 1896
Tip Top Weekly Issue #1

The most popular figure in dime novel literature was Frank Merriwell, and after reading this tale you will thoroughly understand why. In this first of 850 serialized stories, Frank Merriwell tries to be admitted into Fardale, a military academy. As soon as the story opens, he immediately makes an enemy of Bart Hodge, who is also trying to enter there. Hodge continually – but without success – attempts to disgrace Frank and prevent him from becoming his fellow cadet. Indeed, there is no underhanded thing he will not try to achieve this end.



Old Sleuth Dime Novel

Nick Carter’s Quick Work
Or, A Queen of Counterfeiters

By Frederic Dey

Nick Carter Detective Library Issue #2
Published on August 15, 1891

A bride and groom are found murdered in a locked room on their wedding day. Nick Carter is asked to solve the mystery. During his investigation he is nearly blinded when carbolic acid is thrown in his eyes. The incident, however, gives him a clue that may lead him to the identity of the murderer. His investigation eventually leads him to an abandoned granary in the woods, which leads him to an abandoned mine, which leads him to still more layers in this most interesting of mysteries – and then some.



Old Sleuth Dime Novel

Old Sleuth in Harness Again
Or, Four Noted Detectives Unveiling A Mystery
Created by Harlan Page Halsey

“Old Sleuth in Harness Again” was first serialized in The Fireside Companion weekly story paper over 18 weeks, from June 7 to October 4, 1875. Our text is taken from the October 13, 1885 reprint published in the Old Sleuth Library dime novel series.



Nick Carter Fighting Against Millions

Fighting Against Millions
Or, The Detective In The Jewel Caves Of Kurm
By John Russell Coryell
Original Nick Carter, Detective Novel #3

This is the third novel featuring Nick Carter, created by John Russell Coryell. Originally published in Street and Smith’s, New York Weekly in 17 parts, from September 29, 1888 to January 19, 1889.

More than a year has passed since the case recorded as “A Wall Street Haul” and Nick is now the father of a baby boy, Ralph Carter. Apart from being a new parent he is faced with a personal mystery. Over the past six months he has suffered a surprising number of failures in the cases he has undertaken and there are rumors that he has been bought off by criminals. His reputation is further tarnished when three of the houses he owns are set on fire shortly after Mrs. Carter has been sent to renew the insurance policies. One newspaper account is particularly damaging since it identifies Nick Carter with detective Harvey Jones, his alter ego, and casts aspersions on Mrs. Carter’s reputation. It is as though some unseen enemy is watching the Carter family so Nick determines to take his family and disappear. Before that can happen Nick and Ethel are awakened in the middle of the night to hear a woman’s voice swearing vengeance for past deeds. They soon discover that baby Ralph is missing and their house is on fire.



Old King Brady

Old King Brady, The Sleuth-Hound
By a New York Detective
First Published in The New York Detective Library in November 1885.

Old King Brady was the first detective in dime novel fiction to appear on a regular basis; he appeared in print on average about once a month from his debut in November 1885 through mid-1894. There are about 104 of these stories.



Old Sleuth

A Wall Street Haul; Or, A Bold Stroke For A Fortune

By John Russell Coryell
Original Nick Carter, Detective Novel #2

This novel was originally published in Street and Smith’s, New York Weekly for 15 weeks, between March 2 and June 18, 1887.

This is a rare manuscript featuring the second adventure of Nick Carter created by John Russell Coryell. Nick Carter has been a private detective for a little over a year and has been very successful in his chosen vocation. Everyone knows his pseudonym, Harvey Jones, but no one knows the existence of his real identity except Inspector Byrnes. Nick has married the girl he fell in love with in his first adventure, and in this tale he involves her a bit in solving the mystery of “A Wall Street Haul,” a massive number of bonds taken from one of New York’s most famous banks – and with precious few clues to go by. It is necessary to read this story first because Nick Carter’s next adventure is Fighting Against Millions; Or, The Detective In The Jewel Caves Of Kurm.



Old Sleuth

Old Sleuth, the Detective; Or, The Bay Ridge Mystery
By Old Sleuth

Old Sleuth is a famous detective much feared by the underworld because he has an uncanny knack for finding obscure clues to unravel mysteries that have baffled the police. A supposedly wizened old man with white, mutton chop whiskers and glasses, Old Sleuth is in reality Harry Loveland, a man presumably in his early 30’s – at least in the first story; in the subsequent tales, he is, in fact, an old man.



Nick Carter Dime Novel

The Old Detective’s Pupil; Or, The Mysterious Crime of Madison Square
By John Russell Coryell
Original Nick Carter, Detective Novel #1

Originally published for thirteen weeks, starting, September 18, 1886 in Street and Smith’s New York Weekly, Vol. 41, No. 46.

The First Nick Carter Novel
Who came up with the idea for Nick Carter? Was it John Russell Coryell, the author of the first story, or Ormond G. Smith, president of the publishing firm of Street & Smith? John Russell Coryell (1851-1924) is usually considered the creator of the character of Nick Carter, although the first plots may have been developed in a conference session between author and publisher before pen was put to paper. Such story conferences between publisher and writer became a tradition at Street & Smith.



Nick Carter Detective Dime Novel

Nick Carter Detective Library – Issue Number 1
The Solution of a Remarkable Case.

Originally Published August 8, 1891 by Smith and Street, New York.

Without a doubt, the best known hero of all the dime novels is Nick Carter, so much so that his name today is synonymous with the term dime novel. Nick Carter was a private detective in New York City, who frequently traveled the globe wherever his services were most needed, often encountering fantastic villains. Nick Carter made his first appearance in three popular serials which lasted from 1886 through 1889. The first weekly dime novel that featured him with complete adventures appeared in August 8, 1891 and continued without interruption until October 1915. Afterward he appeared sporadically in pulp fiction for a number of years, and then in a long-running weekly radio series from 1943 to 1955. Although some 1200+ dime novels were issued over 24 years (along with several serials), it is estimated that about 700+ stories were written about Nick Carter.