Charlie Vanderhyde was a student at the university of Edinburgh from 1988-1991, studying psychology. He was born in 1970, and came from a rich family. He attended a private boarding school, and grew up as a well-built young man. His uncle was Matthew Vanderhyde, although he never liked uncles.

Before his first year exams Charlie met and grew friendly with Ronnie McGrath, and moved into Pilmuir for his second year, moving around different flats a lot. He discovered a new side of Edinburgh, and wished to explore a more seedier life than he had previously been living. Due to him frequenting Ronnie's flat, he came to know Tracy though did not get on with her. During his university years, he became interested in pinball machines, of which he had been deprived in his youth, and the occult, thanks to his uncle's interest. He submitted a project on demonism to his tutor Dr Poole in his second year.

The night Ronnie McGrath died, Charlie was at his flat with Tracy. He left just before midnight to attend another party he had heard was happening on the estate. The next morning, Charlie went back to flat and found Ronnie dead at the top of the stairs. He then stole Ronnie's camera, ostensibly to sell and to keep Tracy from stealing it, then went back to his flat to find from his flatmate Tracy had been looking for him. That evening, after news of Ronnie's death was known to the police, he went back to the flat and completed the pentagram he had previously started painting on the wall. He also daubed the words 'Hello Ronnie' above the pentagram, to frighten anyone around.

The next day, Charlie was at the university playing pinball when Inspector Rebus came to question him. He requested to be taken back to the station, and so was interrogated in a cell, telling Rebus that he was there the night before Ronnie died and also that he painted the pentagram. He was released without charge.

On wednesday, Tracy came to Charlie's flat to talk to him about Ronnie. Charlie blamed Tracy for his death, and they argued, fought and the police were called. Charlie then ran away to his uncle's while the police searched his flat, finding a bag of marijuana and Ronnie's stolen camera. The next day, when Charlie was hiding at his uncle's Rebus arrived to question Matthew. Charlie was discovered and questioned, revealing that he went to Ronnie's flat the morning after he was murdered, leading Rebus to the conclusion that Charlie must have disturbed the man who moved the body. Rebus then left Charlie, who was not involved in the investigation any further.