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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 founded the Gulbrandsen Trust, the Gulbrandsen Research Fellowships, the Gulbrandsen Administrative Almshouses, the educational College for the sons of working men. This latter became known as Gulbrandsen Institute. Education was the fashion in philanthropy in Eric's time. After his death, when the state took over the provision of education for all, other fashions such as the reform of juvenile delinquents came to the fore. Lewis Serrocold suggested and after some discussion among the trustees, the institute was turned over into an educational establishment for juvenile criminals.


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.

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