This article lists the various minor fictional characters who appear in St. Oswald's Niche by Laura Frankos. These characters play at best a peripheral role in the novel. Most were simply mentioned or had a very brief, unimportant speaking role that impacted the plot minimally, if at all, and never appeared again. Some were not even given a name.

Selena EmbryEdit

Selena Embry (b. c. 1952) was a jeweler with an eccentric manner. Jennet Walker met her when she wearing most of her wares on her person, as well as a riotously colored sarong and cornrow braids. Dr. Edwin Durrell hired Embry to make replicas of the treasure of the Abbey of St. Oswald to serve as decoys for thieves.

Archibald GrahamEdit

Professor Archibald A. Graham of the University of Edinburgh was in charge of an archaeological expedition at a Viking site in York in 1991. His student Olaf Guthfrith frequently joked that Graham was an unforgiving slave-driver.

Tirval GuthfrithEdit

Tirval Guthfrith, heir to a Scottish computer manufacturing firm, headed the company's Ontario branch. Olaf was his younger brother.[1]


Hadrian was a fluffy black kitten who showed up at Mary-Lou Henley's archaeological site in York, and chose a wall as his favorite post. The diggers quickly adopted the kitten as their mascot, naming him after the Roman Emperor Hadrian who had ordered the construction of an eponymous wall.[2]


Professor Jacobssen taught Old Norse at UCLA. Jennet Walker took his course in 1989, even though Norse materials were not her prime area of study.[3]

Lillian PrestonEdit

Lillian Preston was the vice chair of the UCLA history department, specializing in China. Samuel Thomas Preston was her husband. Although a well-respected scholar, Lillian was also notorious for being an incurable shopaholic.

Baron Stafford of RivingtonEdit

The eighth baron of Rivington renounced his title in the late 1980s, shocking his mother. He said he did it because he believed the system of nobility was not destined to last into the 21st century. Privately, it was suspected that he did not want the title to be inherited by his oldest child and only son, who was known to be very shiftless. The ex-baron also had five daughters, the oldest being Leslie Stafford.[4]

Michael StephanosEdit

Michael Stephanos, a short man with a dark bushy mustache, was the owner of the Mason's Arms restaurant in London. He had a thoroughly English accent, despite looking like a member of Pericles' tribe. An apocryphal story of his family held that the first Stephanos had come to Britain from Greece for the single-minded purpose of being closer to Lord Elgin's stolen Marbles.[5]

Josef WackenroderEdit

Josef Wackenroder was a German historian. In the 1980s, he published a translation of a minor chronicle just as Samuel Thomas Preston of UCLA was finishing his own translation of the same work. Preston never forgave Wackenroder, or himself for delaying his work for so long.[6]

Michael WalkerEdit

Michael Walker was a confessed railroad junkie who housed several hundred model trains in his garage. His daughter Jennet was six when she first learned that some people used their garages to keep their automobiles. As a tribute to him, the adult Jennet made sure to visit the National Railway Museum in York.[7]


Willow was a cat who belonged to a don from the University of Durham. The don maintained custody of Willow after his divorce. When the don approached his chairman with a request to install a kitty-door in his office for Willow's convenience, he was told that the doors were a centuries-old oaken artifact and must always remain intact. The don picked up his cat and announced his resignation, then found a job at a smaller college whose plywood doors were not nearly so venerable.[8]


Matron Yeatman was head nurse of a hospital in York. She tried vainly to curb the boisterous party thrown for the three men in Room 351, who had been wounded while foiling a robbery at the Abbey of St. Oswald, and were celebrating this event.[9]


  1. St. Oswald's Niche, p. 175.
  2. Ibid., pgs. 90-91.
  3. Ibid., p. 33.
  4. Ibid., p. 81-82.
  5. Ibid., pgs. 11-12, 14.
  6. Ibid., p. 222.
  7. Ibid., p. 20.
  8. Ibid., pgs. 12-13.
  9. Ibid., pgs. 290-291.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.