Eric Guldbrandsen was the first husband of Carrie Louise Serrocold. He had three sons from a previous marriage, the eldest of whom was Christian Gulbrandsen. Eric also had two daughters with Carrie Louise, Pippa, who was adopted, and Mildred, who was their biological daughter.
Eric was over fifty when he married Carrie Louise, and she was seventeen. He passed away when Carrie Louise was thirty two. Pippa was eighteen, and Mildred was fifteen at that time, and Eric left an equal sum in trust for both of them.
Eric was known for making his fortune with "shrewd business acumen and perfect honesty". He became so wealthy that philanthropy was the only way to make use of it. He was the founder of the Gulbrandsen Institute, the Gulbrandsen Trust, the Gulbrandsen Research Fellowships, and the Gulbrandsen Administrative Almshouses.
In all the adaptations of the novel, Eric Gulbrandsen is already deceased, and does not appear. However, in the 1991 adaptation, there is a bust of him, as well as one of his son, Christian Gulbrandsen. The resemblance is so strong that Miss Marple initially thinks the two busts are both of Eric.