Re: RARA-AVIS: Nick Carter - author questions & a Quiller question

From: James Reasoner (
Date: 22 Mar 2002

> I also picked up a couple
> of "Nick Carter" books, on the strength of information received on this
> list about some of the authors who ghosted for the series.I have THE
> Could Bill Crider or one of the several other experts in this area tell
> me who the real author/s is/are & anything else relevant, i.e, are they
> any good, etc?
> Also, I haven't read any of the Quiller books - is this a good one?

SPY CASTLE is by Manning Lee Stokes, who wrote a bunch of the early Nick Carters. The authorship of THE JUDAS SPY is more problematical. At first Lyle Kenyon Engel (the packager of the Nick Carter series) thought he was dealing with an old pulp writer named William L. Rohde on this and several other books in the series. Then there was some indication that it was really another author, a guy named Al Hine, pretending to be William L. Rohde (why anybody would do that, I don't know). What's odd is that about five years later, Al Hine wrote a couple more Carters, but not pretending to be Rohde this time. The whole story on this is in an interview with Lyle Kenyon Engel published in Gary Lovisi's magazine Paperback Parade many years ago.

As to whether they're any good or not, it's been over thirty years since I read them. I seem to remember liking THE JUDAS SPY a little better than SPY CASTLE. All those early Carters are pretty entertaining if you don't set your expectations too high. They're nowhere near the level of the Matt Helm books, or even the Sam Durell series.

I thought all of the Quiller novels were pretty good. I believe THE 9TH DIRECTIVE was the first one I read and I went on to read the others, so I must have liked it.

Best, James

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