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The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual Characters

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Three characters, but a lot of suspense. That's the gist of '~'The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual.'~' In this lesson, you'll get a closer look at this trio of characters, their personalities and how they fit into the story.

Riddle Me This

A treasure map hidden in a coded riddle, buried jewels and two disappearing employees are at the heart of ''The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual.'' Like every Sherlock Holmes mystery written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the story opens with Dr. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson thinking back on one of Holmes' cases.

In this case, Holmes reminisces about the case involving his friend, Reginald Musgrave, to get out of having to clean up his untidy office. We meet a number of interesting characters: Musgrave, the butler Richard Brunton and Rachel Howells, the maid.

Characters in ''The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual''

It's a slim cast of players, but a very robust story surrounding the Musgrave Ritual and the clues it provides. Let's dive deeper into the major characters:

Reginald Musgrave

Yes, this is the Musgrave in the so-called Musgrave ritual. Reginald is a former university colleague of Sherlock Holmes, and a not very well-liked one at that. ''He was a man of exceedingly aristocratic type, thin, high-nosed, and large-eyed, with languid and yet courtly manners,'' we find out from the story.

Musgrave is a scion, or descendant, of one of the oldest families in the kingdom. He is a bachelor, but employs a sizable staff of servants, including eight maids, a cook, butler, two footmen and a boy at his extra-large home. The garden and the stables have their own workers. Naturally.

The man of the house might appear to be both a little skittish (he plucks a battle-axe off the wall in the middle of the night, fearing an intruder) and unforgiving (he fires the butler upon finding him looking at the Musgrave Ritual paper, which he calls ''of no practical use whatsoever'').

Richard Brunton

Richard Brunton is an unfortunate soul. A long-time employee of Reginald Musgrave, he appears to have gotten caught up in the mystery of the ritual, himself, which ultimately cost him his life.

Musgrave described Brunton as a ''man of great energy and character,'' who was invaluable in the household from the time of Musgrave's father. He was well-grown and handsome with a ''splendid forehead,'' (and who doesn't love a splendid forehead?). Blessed with the ability to speak multiple languages and play many musical instruments, Musgrave is also something of a lady's man. After losing his wife, he dated both Rachel Howells and another woman and was compared to a Don Juan. Don Juan was a fictional womanizer.

When he is discovered going through Musgrave's personal papers, he is humiliated. He asks to be allowed to quit, rather than be fired, saying, ''I can't bear disgrace, sir. Disgrace would kill me.'' He slinks out of the room, ''utterly crushed.'' Yet, he carries on with his scandalous mission to figure out the Musgrave Ritual. For his efforts, Holmes describes him as '' a very clever man, and to have had a clearer insight than ten generations of his masters.'' Also for his efforts? He suffocates to death. It's a rough way to go.

Rachel Howells

Not much is known about Rachel Howells, though she is described as being of ''Welsh blood, fiery and passionate.'' She had once been in a relationship with Brunton and loved him, but things had gone south as relationships sometimes do.

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