Nick Carter – Fighting Against Million$

| July 14, 2016

Nick Carter – Fighting Against Million$

Or, The Detective In The Jewel Caves Of Kurm

By John Russell Coryell

Originally published for 17 weeks, between September 29, 1888 and January 19, 1889 in Street and Smith’s, New York Weekly.

Fighting Against Million$
Nick Carter Returns
Introduction by J. Randolph Cox

Fighting Against Millions; Or, The Detective in the Jewel Caves of Kurm, is the third Nick Carter novel by John R. Coryell. It was published over a year after the previous one as a serial in 17 parts in the New York Weekly from September 29, 1888, to January 19, 1889. The installments were collected and republished four times: in Secret Service Series no. 57 (July 1892), in Shield Series no. 7 (November 8, 1894), in Magnet Detective Library no. 11 (November 10, 1897) and (with a different sub-title, “A Man of His Word”) in New Magnet Library no. 952 (December 1916).

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.

Nick’s quest for his kidnapped son leads him across the continent of Europe to a hidden kingdom called Kurm. The kidnappers, Baron d’Orment and Grace Eldredge, are the rulers of Kurm and plan to raise Ralph Carter so that he will bring shame upon his father. Nick succeeds in overcoming his enemies by means of some of the training he received from his own father when he was being groomed as a detective. The path to the conclusion is truly exciting and the climax when he parachutes from the cliff top dressed in chain mail is both thrilling and appropriate.

Coryell continues to treat his creation with tongue in cheek as the detective art comes in for its share of spoofing, particularly the art of disguise. When Nick calls on Captain Raudone in Paris he learns the man wants to be a detective and demonstrates his skill as a master of disguise. In tribute to his mentor, Raudone even has a room in his house fitted up to resemble Nick Carter’s workroom in New York.

It is apparent that Coryell had no plans to continue chronicling the career of Nick Carter beyond this point. His next two detective serials for Street and Smith (“The Crime of a Countess” and “A Titled Counterfeiter”) include Nick only incidentally as the detective protagonist is named Wat Denton. Nick contributes a note to the serial version of the first by way of explanation why he does not appear in the story, but this is omitted from the book version. What does appear in both is an introduction in which a client calls on Nick Carter and is told that young Wat Denton is well qualified to take his case. Nick appears to have retired from the detective profession, content to spend his days playing with his two children.

Introduction by J. Randolph Cox
Former Editor of the Dime Novel Round-Up

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Category: Nick Carter - New York Weekly

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