Ronald Bridges, the assistant curator of graphology at a small London museum. As a handwriting expert, he has earned a considerable reputation in the detection of forgeries and occasionally is consulted by the police or asked to appear in court as an expert witness. An epileptic, he is subject to frequent fits. At one point in his life, he sought relief from the disease by volunteering as a subject in a drug test. Unfortunately, his case was one of the few for which the drug was ineffective. During his testimony in the trial of Patrick Seton, he has a seizure.
Martin Bowles, the lawyer who is prosecuting Patrick Seton’s case. He lives with his aging mother but also spends time with Isobel Billows, a wealthy widow. His performance in court leads to the guilty verdict in Patrick’s case.
Patrick Seton, a spiritualist medium charged with fraudulent conversion and forgery. A thin, pale, anxious-looking man in his mid-fifties, he lives with Alice, who is pregnant with his child. His ability to go into a trance and evoke the spirits of the dead has endeared him to wealthy widows despite the air of suspicion that surrounds his activities. He fakes his devotion to Alice; in reality, he plans to kill her if he is acquitted. His trial reveals that he is indeed a con man, interested only in swindling rich people.
(The entire section is 543 words.)