George Chave (shahv), the protagonist. A tall, thin man in his thirties, he is looking for work as a way to please his girlfriend, Veronique, but he soon shifts his devotion to Jenny Weltman. Hired as a detective, he arouses the envy of other employees by finding a lost wife and a lost parrot. As unexplainable events take place around him, he is pursued by the police, hidden by friends, kidnapped, taken by a cult, and finally united with Jenny.
Fred Shapiro, a mysterious businessman. An expensively dressed man of thirty-eight, he is balding and has a hooked nose. A distant cousin and childhood playmate of George, he had long ago incurred George’s dislike when he did not return a rare, borrowed record of “Cherokee.” When George encounters him again, Fred is able to suggest a job opening. Later, Fred kills his uncle, Fernand; becomes the leader of the Rayonite cult; seizes George for use in their rituals; and kills a policeman who is storming their stronghold. At the end of the novel, Fred is driving the car containing George and Jenny.
Croconyan (kraw-KAHN-yehn), a thief. A large, short-haired man, he is strong and resourceful. After George aids him in a bar fight, he becomes a loyal friend, first hiding him in Paris and later joining him in the Alpine retreat.
(The entire section is 518 words.)