Roger West is a tall, good looking, family man, nicknamed 'Handsome West' by his colleagues at Scotland Yard and throughout the force in the local Divisions. He eventually rises to the rank of Chief Superintendent, but it is not necessary to read the series in order, as his method and behaviour changes very little, nor the respect shown him by brother officers. This is not to state that the exploits are formulaic in any way - each is very different to the last. However, West appears to anticipate criminal opponents' next moves, as in a chess game, although that doesn't diminish the anguish he experiences as the game is played out.

His wife, Janet, and family play a big part in his life and in the stories, particularly the difficulties in bringing up two sons, who nonetheless sometimes end up playing a positive role in events. The stresses and strains of balacing career with family, however, do come out at one point when the ordinarily happy parents come close to divorce.

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