Frederick is a city clerk and amateur entomologist who loves to collect butterflies. He is an antisocial and awkward young man in his mid-20s. Because Clegg lost his parents at an early age (his father died in a drunk driving accident when he was two and his mother abandoned him) he was raised by his Aunt Annie and grew up alongside Annie's daughter, his disabled cousin Mabel. Yet he eventually wins a prize of over 70,000 pounds in a football (soccer) pool, and uses this money to buy a country house two hours away from London, where he sets up the basement to be used as a cell for a captive. Clegg then travels in London, stalks a beautiful art student named Miranda Grey, captures her, and takes her back to his house. He tries, and fails, to make her fall in love with him. Yet he succeeds in lying about his name to Miranda; she thinks he is called Ferdinand.
Miranda is a 20 year-old art student at the Slade School of Fine Art in London. She grew up in a privileged middle-class household. Her father, a doctor, was much older than her mother and their marriage was generally dysfunctional. Miranda is very close to her sister Carmen, whom she calls Minny. She also fell in love with George Paston (or, as she calls him, G.P.) a middle-aged artist who influenced her while she was an art student. At the beginning of the novel, Miranda is kidnapped by Frederick Clegg and is held captive in the basement of his country home.
G.P. (George Paston)
G.P. is a middle-aged artist whom Miranda falls in love with. He is frequently pretentious and is convinced of the superiority of his opinions concerning art, passion, and life in general.
Caroline is Miranda's aunt, with whom Miranda lives with before her capture. Caroline was friendly with George Paston, though he disliked her, and is the reason he and Miranda became acquainted.
Antoinette is a Swedish art student and one of Miranda's friends; she also becomes one of G.P.'s lovers.
Aunt Annie is Clegg's aunt, who raised him after his father died and his mother left. At the start of the novel, she leaves England and relocates to Australia with her daughter Mabel.
Dick was Clegg's uncle and Aunt Annie's husband. He was kind to the young Clegg and inspired his love of butterflies, but had a stroke and died when Clegg was fifteen.
An art student and a rich, spoiled young man, Piers is one of Miranda's off-and-on suitors.
Minny is Miranda's sister, who bonded with Miranda due to their parents' dysfunctional marriage.
Mabel is Clegg's cousin, who is in a wheelchair. She is somewhat older than he is, around 30 years-old to his 25.
The Collector Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Collector is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.