Alan Yates was born in London in 1923. He visited Australia during World War II while in Navy. He married Denise Mackellar (an Australian) in 1946. They lived in London for a short time but returned to Australia after 18 months. Yates worked for QANTAS in the public relations department, but in his spare time he wrote.
The persona 'Carter Brown' started modestly enough in the Sydney offices of Horwitz Publications. Sometime in 1951, the Horwtiz editorial team approached Yates, and asked him if he would be interested in writing a mystery series as 'Peter Carter Brown'. Though it was a huge gamble, giving up a full-time job with QANTAS, Yates signed a writing contract. In exchange for a guaranteed weekly advance of £30 (almost double his QANTAS salary), he was to produce two novelettes and one full-length novel a month.
Yates wrote approximately 300 Carter Brown novels and became Australia's best-selling novelist: Signet claimed international sales of 80 million copies—the series was translated into nearly thirty languages, a Japanese tv series and two films produced in France.
Brown shared the pseudonym Roger Garradine with other writers. A number of short stories, mainly detective and science fiction, were published in the early 1950s in such magazines as "Detective Monthly". From 1956-58 "The Carter Brown Mystery Theatre" produced radio plays based on his books. In 1958 two collections of comic strips based on Carter Brown were issued by Transport Publishing in Sydney. In 1982 the Sydney Theatre Company produced a musical, "The Stripper", adapted from Yates's 1961 novel of the same name. He was posthumously awarded the Crime Writers' Association of Australia Ned Kelly Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1997. His "Carter Brown" books are estimated to have sold more than eighty million copies worldwide.