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Joseph Bramble was at least partly descended from Caribbean islanders. His grandfather, Rasta Bob, had helped Nigel Loring, Alleyne Loring and John Hordle escape from England. Bramble had served in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry Regiment of the British Army and, when discharged, was encouraged by Ingmar Rutherston to seek employment with the police in lieu of becoming a farmer.
Bramble is a corporal with the Ox and Bucks Regiment. When he learns of an apparent murder in the town of Eddsford, he notifies the civil authority. He remains in Eddsford to assist Inspector Ingmar Rutherston of Scotland Yard. The victim, Jon Wooten, apparently bled to death after suffering from burns.
Bramble responded with Rutherston to Portland, England when a foreigner was discovered to have been murdered.