Patricia Doyle, normally called Patsy, is one of the three nieces of the multi-millionaire John Merrick.
She is the daughter of a retired soldier, Major Gregory Doyle, and his late wife, the former Violet Merrick, the youngest sister of John and Jane Merrick and their siblings. Patsy is petite: at sixteen she is the size of a twelve-year-old. She has bright blue eyes and blazing red hair, and a round freckled face and a pug nose, and is "wholesome rather than beautiful." Her temperament is passionate, and her character is strongly committed to her notions of right and wrong. Prior to her encounter with her relatives, she and her father lived simply on his modest income as a bookkeeper; she earned her own money as a hairdresser, and made most of her own clothes.
Patsy is sixteen years old when she receives a summons from her aunt Jane Merrick, to appear as a candidate to be Aunt Jane's heir (along with her cousins, Louise Merrick and Beth De Graf). That event begins a process that works a revolution in the lives of Patsy and her father. (Aunt Jane's Nieces)
Among the three cousins, Patsy becomes the favorite of her Uncle John, for her combination of sweet temper, sunny disposition, and strong values. When they thought Uncle John had no money, Patsy and the Major took him in; when he revealed his true wealth, he continued to live with them, supporting them in an appropriate style.