Nick Carter Prevents a Disturbance and Loses a Disguise
Nick Carter Prevents a Disturbance and Loses a Disguise, published March 5, 1900 by Street & Smith Publishers, appeared as part of the Nick Carter Weekly series.
Many writers for Street and Smith wrote anonymously as did the writer of Nick Carter Prevents a Disturbance. Some of the authors that contributed to issues within this series are A. L. Armagnac, Frederick Russell Burton, O. P. Caylor, Weldon J. Cobb, William Wallace cook, Fredrick W. Davis, Frederic Van Rensselaer Dey, and E. C. Derby. It is important to note that the majority of issues within the New Nick Carter Weekly were written by Frederic Van Rensselaer Dey (Cox 193).
Nick Carter – A detective who uses his intelligence and instincts to solve the most mysterious cases. With careful investigation and various disguises, Nick Carter has the ability to out-smart any criminal and take on any case.
Enoch Marston – A well-known respected citizen for long standing and a broker in charge of a very large sum of one and a half million dollars in securities.
Madame Cyrille Monterey – Widow of a prominent official in the Brazilian War Department. Also found out to be the wife of convict firebug and life insurance wrecker, Schwartz. Resident of Suite “D” where Enoch Marston was found hung. Madame Cyrille Monterey was also known by the names of Mrs. E. E Cole and Mrs. Abigail Schwartz.
Violet Marston – Sad and depressed, Violet was the daughter of Enoch Marston, age seventeen.
Chick – An associate whom Nick Carter asked to help him with his investigation. Along with Nick Carter, Chick used disguises and kept an observant eye on suspects.
Patsy – Another acquaintance who helped Nick Carter throughout his investigation. Patsy was in charge of keeping a watchful eye on Madame Cyrille’s apartment as well as disguising himself and speaking with Madame Cyrille herself.
Gridley Rivere – A fellow detective from Baltimore who came to New York seeking the help of Nick Carter in a case involving Tim Dorgan which soon proved to be linked with Madame Cyrille Monterey. Gridley also assisted Nick in solving the Enoch Marston case.
Tim Dorgan – The man proved to be the one responsible for stealing the one and a half million dollars in securities. He died while detained in a prison after injecting himself with a powerful medication.
Stryker – The man proved to be responsible for the murder of Enoch Marston and hanging him from Madame Cyrille’s door afterwards.
Etelka – Spiritual communicator
Blecha – A high professor of the art of spiritual communication and a specialist in spiritual séances.
The dime novel is set in an apartment building located in the vicinity of Central Park in New York City and includes trips to Baltimore.
As the dime novel open, the apartment maid is seen walking through the dark hallways where she is then stopped immediately in her tracks upon seeing the hanging body of Enoch Marston. Horrified by the image the maid screams and faints, waking everyone in the building. People begin to rush out into the hallway where they too see the hanging body of Enoch Marston. Speculation arises and some say it was suicide while others believe it to be a murder. Nick Carter was asked by the chief of police to investigate the case, which Nick agreed to. Nick began investigating the apartment building and interrogating suspects, once gathering some information and obtaining some clues he deemed important Nick focused his intentions on Madame Cyrille Monterey being the prime suspect in the case. Nick’s conversation with Madame Cyrille was brief and non-beneficial; she would not mention anything that had to do with the crime committed on Enoch Marston. The hero next began calling in his acquaintances Patsy and Chick to assist him in solving the case. Getting closer and closer to the truth, Nick suddenly gets an unexpected appearance from a fellow detective, Gridley Rivere, who is investigating a case involving a man named Tim Dorgan. Gridley seeks help from Nick Carter and invites him to Baltimore to work on the Tim Dorgan case, Nick refuses for he does not want to abandon his responsibility to the Enoch Marston case. After countless times of asking, Gridley finally begins to leave. Right before Gridley leaves he shows a picture of a woman believed to be connected to the Tim Dorgan case. The story’s climax is when Nick Carter notices the woman in the picture to be Madame Cyrille Monterey. It turns out that she is disguising herself as someone else and is really known as Mrs. Abigail Schwartz. This is a major turning point because this picture gives Nick Carter more leverage towards Madame Cyrille Monterey for she is involved in two individual cases which turn out to be linked with each other. At the ending, Madame Cyrille hears of Tim Dorgan’s death and attends a spiritual séance in order to communicate with Tim Dorgan. She wishes to communicate because he left a very important pane message which contains information as to where Tim hid the one and a half million dollars. Nick disguises himself as a spiritual communicator and performs a séance for Madame Cyrille. Nick then gets Madame Cyrille to confess who murdered Enoch Marston and to take Nick to see the person responsible. The person turned out to be Stryker, who was then arrested along with Madame Cyrille at the conclusion of the novel.
The dime novel’s main theme involves a father’s honor being completely vindicated, and how a young woman could recall the love of an estimable young man whose attentions she had conscientiously dismissed when trouble darkened her life (31). There was no indication of race throughout the dime novel but when Nick Carter was following around Madame Cyrille Monterey he states that he found her “in that famous gambling palace of the Tenderloin, the “Paris Mutual”, a gilded gambling hall frequented by the fast set of society” (6). Nick Carter was noticing the flashy, high class life Madame Cyrille lived and how she always appeared in fancy hotels and attended high class restaurants as well.
Nick Carter Prevents a Disturbance and Loses a Disguise depicts the theme of organized crime in contemporary literature. Stryker, along with multiple accomplices conduct a series of murders in hopes to obtain a large profit from their victims. Organized crimes are a common theme in the “murder mystery” genre because of how systematized and skillful the criminal groups are depicted (Montana). Organized crimes have been a theme seen countless times throughout literature since the eruption in the late 1890’s. During the late 1890’s and early 1900’s organized crimes began to gain popularity amongst Americans both young and old (Ronczkowski). During that time period, murders and abductions gained the most popularity because of the large profit that would come as a result (Alix). Organized crimes have developed over the years into more modern terminology such as “Mobs” or “Gangs” where a group conducts illegal activity for a profit (Friedman). The events between 1890 and 1900 impacted writers significantly and as a result “murder mysteries” have been a recurring literary theme throughout novels, such as Nick Carter Prevents a Disturbance and Loses a Disguise.
Alix, Ernest K. “Ransom Kidnapping in America, 1874-1974: The Creation of a Capital
Crime.” Southern Illinois UP 13.4 (1978): 13-38. Print.
Cox, Randolph J. Dime Novel Companion: A Source Book. Westport: Greenwood, 2000.
Friedman, Lawrence M. “Crime and Punishment in American History.” BasicBooks 34.5
(1993) 54-67. Print.
Montana, Patrick J., and Roukis, George S. “Managing Terrorism: Strategies for the Corporate
Executive.” Quorum Books 68.9 (1983): 54-89. Print.
Ronczkowski, Michael R. “Terrorism and Organized Hate Crime: Intelligence Gathering,
Analysis, and Investigations.” CRC Press 12.6 (2004) 16-34. Print.