Carter Brown

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For the former Director of the U.S. National Gallery of Art, see J. Carter Brown.

Born in England, Alan Geoffrey Yates (aka Carter Brown) married and settled in Australia in 1948. He began his working life as a film technician, a salesman and in public relations for Qantas before taking up writing full-time.

Yates soon became a literary phenomenon. He wrote westerns under the pseudonym Todd Conway; romances under Caroline Farr and science fiction under Paul Valdez. He even found the time to write books under various versions of his own name as well as other pseudonyms, Dennis Sinclair and Sinclair MacKellar. But it was his pseudonym Peter Carter Brown then later, Carter Brown (‘Peter’ was dropped for the US market) who was to become the international bestselling pulp fiction author.

The extraordinary early success of Carter Brown in the 1950s meant that Yates was contracted to produce one short novel and two long novels each month. In reality, Yates was truly prolific with 322 published Carter Brown novels. Yet despite the enormity of his output, a 1963 profile in Pix magazine revealed he approached deadlines ‘with the reluctance of a long-distance swimmer shivering on the brink of a cold, grey English Channel. In the manic depressive moments of the third night without sleep – when the deadline is long past and the mental block has set solid as concrete, the writer inevitably descends into self-analysis. He knows, of course, that it will be no more help than the last Dexedrine tablet but still clings to the naïve hope that, somehow, sometime, he will find a way of avoiding the recurrence of his present hopeless situation.’

His books, originally published by Horwitz and Signet, were set in the United States and published throughout the Anglo-phone world. In its obituary for Yates in 1985, The New York Times noted that he had written "some 30 detective novels with American backgrounds before ever having visited the United States ... He said he chose American settings because Australians preferred them."

A rumour spread at the height of his popularity that Yates was one of John F. Kennedy’s favourite authors – a rumour which helped propel his sales even further in the North American market.

The novels were also popular in Europe where they were translated into French, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Russian, Finnish, German, Portuguese, Romanian, Dutch. In Asia, some of the novels were translated into Thai and Japanese.

Carter Brown's huge international success saw reportedly 120 million books in print, second only to The Bible in terms of the number of languages into which they were translated. The success of the books also spawned a comic book series, the ‘Carter Brown Murder Mystery Hour’ on radio, three French films, a Japanese TV series, and a French literary award for ‘The most whiskies drunk in a single novel’.

In the early 1980s, Yates and Richard O'Brien of The Rocky Horror Show fame wrote a musical of The Stripper, described in classic Carter Brown terminology as ‘the girl who says it all from the neck down’.

Yates died of a heart attack in 1985 in Sydney. In 1997, he was posthumously awarded a Ned Kelly, Australia’s leading literary award for crime writing, for his lifelong contribution to the art.


Selected bibliography[edit]


Novelette Series

  • The Lady Is Murder (Transport Publishing Co, 1951) By Peter Carter Brown
  • Ssssh! She's A Killer (Transport Publishing Co, 1951) By Peter Carter Brown

Novel Series

  • Venus Unarmed (Transport Publishing Co, 1954)
  • The Lady is Chased (Transport Publishing Co, 1954)
  • Maid For Murder (Transport Publishing Co, 1955)
  • Shamus, Your Slip Is Showing (Horwitz Publications Inc, 1955)
  • The Two Timing Blonde (Horwitz Publications Inc, 1955)
  • Curves For A Coroner (Horwitz Publications Inc, August 1955)

Numbered Series

  1. A Bullet For My Baby (Horwitz Publications Inc, September 1955) Mavis Seidlitz
  2. Swan Song For A Siren (Horwitz Publications Inc, September 1955) Joe Dunne Note: Revised in 1963 to Charlie Sent Me with character Larry Baker
  3. Cutie Cashed His Chips (Horwitz Publications Inc, October 1955) Mike Farrel Note: Revised as The Million Dollar Babe in 1961.
  4. Miss Called Murder (Horwitz Publications Inc, October 1955)
  5. The Wench Is Wicked (Horwitz Publications Inc, November 1955)
  6. Kiss And Kill (Horwitz Publications Inc, 1955)
  7. Shroud For My Sugar (Horwitz Publications Inc, 1955)
  8. Murder is My Mistress (Horwitz Publications Inc, 1955)
  9. Kiss Me Deadly (Horwitz Publications Inc, 1955)
  10. Lead Astray (Horwitz Publications Inc, December 1955)
  11. Death Of A Doll (Horwitz Publications Inc, January 1956)

Reprint By Demand Series

  1. The Hoodlum Was A Honey (Horwitz Publications Inc, November 1958)
  2. Lead Astray (Horwitz Publications Inc, December 1958)
  3. My Darling is Deadpan (Horwitz Publications Inc, January 1959)
  4. Hi-Jack For Jill (Horwitz Publications Inc, February 1959)
  5. Blonde, Beautiful, And - Blam! (Horwitz Publications Inc, March 1959)

Misc Series

  • Dead dolls don't cry : Widow is willing ; Blackmail for a brunette (Horwitz Publications)
  • Zelda : and The wind-up doll (Horwitz Grahame, 1982, c1961)
  • The scarlet flush (Horwitz, 1963)
  • The brazen, and The stripper (Horwitz, 1981)

Chill on Chili, Butterfly Nett, and Honky Tonk Homicide: (Horwitz)


  • Ready when you are, C.B.! : the autobiography of Alan Yates alias Carter Brown (Macmillan, 1983)


  • Toni Johnson-Woods, 'The Promiscuous Carter Brown', in JASAL Special Issue, The Colonial Present, 2008, pp. 163–183. Available online [2]


  1. ^ "Ned Kelly Awards". Australian Crime Fiction Database. Retrieved 2007-09-15. 
  2. ^ Johnson-Woods, Toni. "The Promiscuous Carter Brown". JASAL Special Edition The Colonial Present. Association for the study of Australian literature. Retrieved 2011-05-05. 

External links[edit]