Mimi Jorgenson, Clyde Wynant’s former wife, a showy blond in whose arms Julia Wolf dies. She is suspected of Julia’s murder.
Dorothy Wynant, Mimi’s daughter, a small, attractive blond who dislikes her family and who asks Nick to locate Wynant.
Gilbert Wynant, Mimi’s son, an odd, extremely inquisitive young man.
Christian Jorgenson, formerly called Kelterman, Wynant’s former associate who, feeling unfairly treated, breaks with him. Although he already has a wife in Boston, Jorgenson marries Mimi to get his hands on the large divorce settlement Wynant provides for her. Temporarily suspected of Julia’s murder, he finally returns to his legal wife in Boston.
Nick Charles, the narrator, a onetime detective, now a lumberman. Humorous, self-possessed, tough, and intelligent, he discovers clues, arranges them, makes deductions, and solves the murders. He then summarizes the whole solution for his admiring wife, Nora.
Nora Charles, his wife, a woman with a well-developed sense of humor who finds Nick fascinating.
Herbert Macaulay, Wynant’s thieving attorney, the murderer of Wynant, Julia, and Nunheim. He murders Wynant to rob him, Julia to quiet her, and Nunheim because he was a possible witness to Julia’s murder.
Shep Morelli, a gangster and former friend of Julia who thinks Nick knows what happened to her. He shoots Nick and is beaten by the police but is released when Nick does not press charges.
Arthur Nunheim, a former convict who identified Julia’s body. He is murdered.
Julia Wolf, a murder victim, Clyde Wynant’s secretary and mistress who plotted with Macaulay to get Wynant’s money.
Clyde Wynant, a wealthy, eccentric inventor, once a client of Nick. He is a tall, thin man murdered by Macaulay.
Guild, a detective.