Nick Carter – The Old Detective’s Pupil

| July 14, 2016

Nick Carter Dime Novel

The Old Detective’s Pupil; or,
The Mysterious Crime of Madison Square.

By John Russell Coryell

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 and Smith? 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 and Smith.

Coryell’s first stories were written for such publications as St. Nicholas, Harper’s Young People, and Golden Days. He began writing for Street and Smith’s New York Weekly in the 1880s and turned out mostly romance serials. Then he convinced the publishers that he could write as good a detective story as anyone on their staff. The fact that he was a cousin of Ormond G. Smith may have had something to do with the ready acceptance of such a challenge. His first detective serial was apparently enough of a success for the writer to be encouraged to submit another one.

The second detective serial was The Old Detective’s Pupil; or, The Mysterious Crime of Madison Square and it appeared in the New York Weekly in 1886 – a year before the first Sherlock Holmes story was published. The Old Detective’s Pupil is actually a full length novel, not a short story. It was published for thirteen weeks. The first weekly installment was published September 18, 1886 in Street and Smith’s New York Weekly, Vol. 41, No. 46. The final installment was December 11, 1886. (Source: Dime Novel Round Up)

The Old Detective’s Pupil is the first of a trilogy about Nick Carter, it introduced the youthful detective who would go on to become one of the most popular heroes of the 19th and 20th centuries. The three novels he wrote about Nick Carter make up a unit, in which the character of Nick Carter develops as changes in his life and profession are revealed to the reader.

In The Old Detective’s Pupil, Nick’s father, Sim Carter, is approached by banker Gerald Livingston to locate his missing daughter, Mabel. Nick takes the case for himself and does the initial investigation disguised as his own father. His investigation stirs up a hornet’s nest and provides tragedy when old Sim Carter is murdered. Nick then has a double goal: find Mabel Livingston and find his father’s killers. To accomplish both he needs to apply all that his father had taught him about the art of detection, because he is the title character, the old detective’s pupil.

It was only the beginning.
J. Randolph Cox
Editor of Dime Novel Round-Up

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Category: Nick Carter - New York Weekly

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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