She is very pretty, and Jerry Burton even described her as "a goddess", with "perfect features", "crisply curlimg golden hair", and a "tall exquisitely-shaped body". For a while he was interested in her, but he lost interest when he heard her speak, as she had a "flat, competent voice".
After the death of Mona Symmington, Elsie helps to take care of the boys, as well as Mr Symmington, and people begin to talk about how she intends to become the next Mrs Symmington.
Elsie later receives an anonymous letter telling her that it is no use thinking she is going to become the next Mrs Symmington, and warning her to "get out and stay out".
It is later revealed that Mr Symmington was in love with Elsie, and wanted to marry her. He wanted to keep his home, children, and respectability, and also marry Elsie, so he murdered his wife. The anonymous letter that Elsie received was written by Aimée Griffith. Aimée was in love with Mr Symmington, and wanted to stop Elsie from marrying him.
At the end of the novel, Elsie sends a toast rack to Jerry Burton and Megan Hunter as a wedding present. Megan mentions that Elsie has found another post with a dentist, and is very happy.
In the BBC 1985 adaptation of the novel which formed part of the Miss Marple series, Elsie Holland is played by Imogen Bickford-Smith. The protrayal is close to the original novel. Here she was shown leaving the house at the end of the show, telling Miss Marple that people at the village would talk, but that, in truth, she had no idea about Richard Symington's intentions.
In the ITV 2006 adaptation of the novel (Episode 2, Series of Agatha Christie's Marple), Elsie Holland is played by Kelly Brook. She was portrayed as slightly more desirable than in the novel. Jerry Burton was more interested in her than in Megan at first, until she kissed him, whereupon he lost interest.