Captain Carey

From Black Peter:

“I have a few dates here which will give the career of the dead man, Captain Peter Carey. 

He was born in ’45 — fifty years of age. He was a most daring and successful seal and whale

fisher. In 1883 he commanded the steam sealer Sea Unicorn, of Dundee.”


Carey was also something of an archetype in the writings of ACD. An authority figure

of talent, but of unstable temperament, with a weakness for drink. In ‘The Captain of the

Polestar’ we see a similar figure in Captain Craigie who suffers severe mood-swings.

These figures all point to ACD’s father, a gentle, gifted alcoholic; a mentally unbalanced

man who haunts the writings of his son often disguised in a figure like a Carey.

These male characters appear in the stories like ghosts at one of Conan Doyle’s


frequent seances…



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