Miss Gabriella Middleton is a novelist. She is the protagonist of our story. She has written two popular murder mystery novels: Murder at Midnight and The Butler Did It. She is unmarried. She is staying at Leatherby Hall for the Christmas season as a guest of Lady Jane Leatherby, her childhood friend.
Lady Jane Leatherby is a school girl friend of Gabriela’s. She was Jane Gregg when they were at boarding school together in Winchester in Hampshire. Jane and Gabriela have corresponded regularly since those days, but they have not seen one another more than a half dozen times. Not at all since Jane married Sir Brian.
Sir Brian Leatherby is a wealthy country squire. His family seat at Leatherby Hall has extensive estates attached to it. He is an intelligent man, but more interested in hunting than reading. He is a bit vain and dearly wants to leave his mark on the world of learning. The opportunity to endow his Alma Mater with an historic archaeological find is too good a chance to turn down.
Major Peter Greggs is Lady Jane’s brother, recently retired from the Indian Army. Gabriella has met him before, many years ago when she and Jane were in school. He’s handsome, very upright and manly as she recalls. “He was wounded, miss, and he walks with a limp, but he’s very dashing and he still dances well enough.”
Mlle. Eloise Shires is a young French woman who Lady Jane knows from London. Apparently she is a clairvoyant and a psychic medium. Lady Jane is planning to have a séance or two at some time during the holiday and everyone below stairs is fascinated by the idea of speaking to the dead. “Do you believe, in spirits, miss? Ghosts and such?”
Dr. Duncan McWhiter is a physician, an old friend of Sir Brian’s, down from London. He works on Harley Street, famous for its specialists. “A brain doctor, they say, miss. He can tell you what’s wrong inside your head just by talking to you.”
Professor Morris Thorn is an older man, an Oxford don who taught Sir Brian when he was at college. He has been invited to visit because of what the other guest has brought. “He’s very absent minded, miss, always late for meals and wanders about in a bit of a fog. But when he gets talking it’s like listening to a school book come to life.”
Mr. Angus McPherson is an explorer and archaeologist (Sarah pronounces it arky-loly-gist). He has just returned from Egypt with something he found there. “There was big boxes, miss, several of them delivered by wagons two days ago. Sir Brian said to put them in the old chapel, and all the gentlemen have been down there for two days, like little boys with a new hoop to play with. They’re ever so excited. Maybe its treasure in them boxes. The Gypsies showed up right after that and they’ve got a nose for gold, don’t they?”
Stanislous Meadows is the Butler
Joth Miller is the Footman
Sarah Winslow is Lady Jane’s maid
Bess Meadows is the Cook
Becky Potts is the Downstairs Maid
Andy Machin is the Farm Manager
Sally Machin is the farmer’s wife
James, Elizabeth and Martin are their children
Ian Dobbs is the Game Keeper
David Rhys-Evans is the Stable Boy