Above Suspicion
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4.08 / 5

"Above Suspicion" Characters Analysis

By Lynda La Plante

mystery | 333 pages | Published in NaN

It is the summer of 1939. A young Oxford don, Richard Myles and his wife Frances are about to leave for their usual long vacation on the continent. At the request of a Foreign Office friend of Richard's they agree to serve as messengers to a man who has been involved in rescue work and anti-Nazi espionage, a man who now seems to have gone missing. Their qualifications? Next to nothing except for Richard's superb memory and the fact that they look so very innocent. Across a continent on the brink of war from Paris to Innsbruck and beyond Richard and Francis travel ever deeper into danger.


Estimated read time: 7 min read

List of Characters

Anna TravisProtagonist
James LangtonDetective
Richard ReynoldsAntagonist
Molly TrentVictim
Paul BarolliSuspect
Charlotte TraderSuspect

Role Identification

In "Above Suspicion" by Lynda La Plante, the main character, Anna Travis, takes on the role of the protagonist. James Langton serves as the experienced detective guiding Anna throughout the investigation. Richard Reynolds acts as the antagonist, creating obstacles and challenges for Anna. Molly Trent is the victim, whose murder sets the story in motion. Paul Barolli and Charlotte Trader are both suspects in the case.

Character Descriptions

  • Anna Travis: Anna is a young and ambitious detective who is determined to prove herself in a male-dominated field. She is described as intelligent, diligent, and passionate about her work. Anna is driven by her desire for justice and her need to succeed.
  • James Langton: James is an experienced detective who serves as Anna's mentor and guide. He is known for his expertise and ability to solve complex cases. James is portrayed as a seasoned investigator with a sharp mind and a no-nonsense approach.
  • Richard Reynolds: Richard is the primary antagonist in the story. He is a cunning and manipulative individual who uses his power and influence to evade suspicion. Richard is described as charismatic and persuasive, making it difficult for the investigators to gather evidence against him.
  • Molly Trent: Molly is the victim in the case, a young woman whose murder triggers the investigation. She is depicted as a kind-hearted and innocent person who had a promising future ahead of her. Molly's death serves as a catalyst for Anna's determination to find the killer.
  • Paul Barolli: Paul is one of the suspects in the murder case. He is a former boyfriend of Molly and has a troubled past. Paul is portrayed as a volatile and unpredictable character, creating uncertainty about his involvement in the crime.
  • Charlotte Trader: Charlotte is another suspect in the case, known to have had a strained relationship with Molly. She is depicted as an enigmatic and secretive individual, making it challenging for the investigators to uncover the truth about her connection to the crime.

Character Traits

  • Anna Travis: Intelligent, determined, ambitious, diligent, passionate.
  • James Langton: Experienced, knowledgeable, sharp-minded, no-nonsense.
  • Richard Reynolds: Cunning, manipulative, charismatic, persuasive.
  • Molly Trent: Kind-hearted, innocent, promising.
  • Paul Barolli: Volatile, unpredictable, troubled.
  • Charlotte Trader: Enigmatic, secretive, mysterious.

Character Background

  • Anna Travis: Anna comes from a family with a law enforcement background, and her father was a highly respected detective. She followed in his footsteps, joining the police force to make a difference in society. Despite her privileged upbringing, Anna had to prove herself in a male-dominated profession.
  • James Langton: James has a long and successful career in law enforcement. He has solved numerous high-profile cases and has earned a reputation for his expertise. James's experience and knowledge make him a valuable asset to the investigation team.
  • Richard Reynolds: Richard is a wealthy and influential individual with connections to powerful people. He has managed to stay above suspicion in previous investigations, using his charm and manipulation to evade arrest. Richard's background and resources make him a formidable adversary for Anna and James.
  • Molly Trent: Molly grew up in a small town and had dreams of pursuing a career in the arts. She moved to the city to pursue her ambitions and was known for her kindness and generosity. Molly's background and character make her murder all the more tragic and senseless.
  • Paul Barolli: Paul had a troubled childhood and a history of violence. He struggled with substance abuse and had a volatile relationship with Molly. Paul's background and behavior make him a potential suspect in the murder case.
  • Charlotte Trader: Charlotte had a complicated past and a strained relationship with Molly. She was known to be secretive and mysterious, leading to suspicion surrounding her involvement in the crime. Charlotte's background and demeanor make her an intriguing character in the investigation.

Character Arcs

  • Anna Travis: Throughout the story, Anna experiences personal growth and development. She starts as an ambitious but inexperienced detective and evolves into a more confident and skilled investigator. Anna's determination to solve the case and bring the murderer to justice drives her character arc.
  • James Langton: While James is already an experienced detective at the beginning of the story, his character arc involves mentoring and guiding Anna. He learns to trust her instincts and abilities, fostering a strong professional relationship. James's role in Anna's development is a significant aspect of his character arc.
  • Richard Reynolds: Richard's character arc revolves around his attempts to maintain his image of innocence while facing mounting evidence against him. As the investigation progresses, Richard's facade starts to crack, revealing his true nature. His downfall and eventual confrontation with the authorities shape his character arc.
  • Molly Trent: Although Molly is the victim, her character arc is revealed through the investigation and the revelations about her past. As details about her relationships and experiences come to light, the reader gains a deeper understanding of Molly's character and the impact she had on those around her.
  • Paul Barolli: Paul's character arc is centered around his troubled past and his potential involvement in the murder. As the investigation unfolds, Paul's true nature is revealed, and his relationship with Molly is explored in more depth. The resolution of Paul's character arc is tied to the resolution of the murder case.
  • Charlotte Trader: Charlotte's character arc is shrouded in mystery and secrecy. As the investigation delves deeper into her background and motivations, her true character is gradually unveiled. The resolution of Charlotte's character arc is intertwined with the resolution of the murder case.


  • Anna Travis and James Langton: Anna and James have a mentor-mentee relationship throughout the story. James guides Anna and provides her with valuable insights and advice. Their professional relationship evolves into mutual respect and trust.
  • Anna Travis and Richard Reynolds: Anna and Richard have an adversarial relationship, with Anna suspecting Richard's involvement in the murder. Their interactions are characterized by tension and confrontation as Anna tries to gather evidence against him.
  • Molly Trent and Paul Barolli: Molly and Paul had a complicated and troubled relationship. Their history and connection play a significant role in the investigation, as Paul becomes a prime suspect in Molly's murder.
  • Molly Trent and Charlotte Trader: Molly and Charlotte had a strained relationship, with secrets and unresolved issues between them. The nature of their connection is explored throughout the story, adding layers of complexity to the investigation.

In conclusion, "Above Suspicion" features a diverse cast of characters, each contributing to the intricate web of the murder investigation. Anna Travis, James Langton, Richard Reynolds, Molly Trent, Paul Barolli, and Charlotte Trader all play essential roles, with their backgrounds, traits, and relationships shaping the narrative and character arcs. The book offers a compelling exploration of crime, justice, and the complexity of human nature.