Nancy Drew lands an internship at The Beech Hill museum in Washington D.C, which is devoted to the Mayan culture and will soon be exhibiting a newly discovered monolith to the public. However, shortly before the exhibition, one of the museum's most treasured pieces is stolen from the museum, and a mysterious accident involving the museum's head translator occurs. You, playing as Nancy Drew, must find the stolen jade carving of Pacal, and save Beech Hill from financial ruin.
Joanna Riggs - Joanna is the curator of Beech Hill Museum. Her eagerness to obtain rare Mayan artifacts have gotten her into financial trouble with the Beech Hill Board of Directors before. She knows a few Latin phrases and is usually all-business. Halfway through the game she is suspended by the Board of Directors, and Nancy Drew must take over her curator duties until the stolen artifact is found. She doesn't get along well with the Mexican Consulate due to artifacts that the museum has acquired under shady circumstances.
Henrik van der Hune - Henrik is the epigrapher of Beech Hill Museum. He was hired by Joanna from the Chaco Canyon Cultural Center where he worked previously. He is later hospitalized after an incident that causes him to suffer from amnesia. He is accomplished in his career field, but he has suspicious coincidences in his past.
Taylor Sinclair - Taylor is an art dealer with an office in Washington, D.C. He believes something shady is going on at Beech Hill, and fears for the future of the museum. He dislikes Alejandro del Rio due to mutual distrust. He is also concerned about the robberies of Prudence Rutherford and a museum in New Mexico. Is he just pretending to be concerned so he can be off of Nancy's suspect list?
Alejandro del Rio - Alejandro is an ambassador to the Mexican Consulate in Washington, D.C, and knows several languages, including Spanish, English, and Nahuatl. Would he take the artifact from the museum in order to repatriate them to Mexico?
Franklin Rose - A member of Beech Hill's Board of Directors, and a friend of Carson Drew. He relays the activities of the Board to Nancy, and is partially responsible for Joanna's suspension. He is an unseen phone character.
Prudence Rutherford - Prudence is a wealthy Kansas socialite who owned one of the Pacal jade carvings. She is an unseen phone character and appears in a few subsequent games.
Sonny Joon - The assistant curator prior to Nancy, who was rather lazy and sloppy at his job, and eventually left. His desk is full of useful things for the case. He is also mentioned in future games.
Poppy Dada - She is an artist represented by Taylor Sinclair, and her work is on display in his office. She is an unseen phone character that is also referred to from time to time in future Nancy Drew games.
Nurse Bluefoot - A male nurse at the hospital where Henrik van der Hune is taken after his fall. Nurse Bluefoot is an unseen phone and voice character.
As with all Nancy Drew games, in Secret of the Scarlet Hand, there are many fatal accidents, such as:
- Getting electrocuted by the HAM radio.
- Dropping the Mayan calendar stones.
- Failing to use the glow stick when exiting the temple corridor.
- Not escaping the monolith in time and suffocating.
However, if the player makes a mistake, they may click on "Second Chance" at the main menu and it will take them back to the place before they made that mistake.
- Nancy Drew - Lani Minella
- Joanna Riggs - Laurie Jerger
- Taylor Sinclair - Jake Perrine
- Henrik van der Hune - David S. Hogan
- Alejandro del Rio - Gary Hoffman
- Bess Marvin - Alisa Murray
- George Fayne - Maureen Nelson
- Frank Hardy - Joshua Silwa
- Joe Hardy - Rob Jones
- Franklin Rose, Silvio Jr. - Wayne Rawley
- Gordon Bluefoot, Mack, Dr. Bob Bobson - Scott Plusquellec
- Prudence Rutherford - Simone Choule
- Poppy Dada - Julie Rawley
- Henry Albert Daddle - Scott Carty
- Sheila Schultz - Amy Broomhall
- When talking to Henrik about the Mayan Pot, one of your choices to say was "In the words of Nicholas Falcone, come on, spill it!" is a reference to Nicholas Falcone from The Final Scene.
- In Sonny Joon's notebook, he mentions a website where you can get walkthroughs for ND Games.
- Nancy's wallpaper on her laptop is a picture of her dog, Togo.
- This is the first game where you can see the chocolate bar, "Koko Kringles". This is also the first game to feature the name "Krolmeister".
- Sonny Joon also is featured in Danger By Design as Minette's last assistant (when Nancy realized this, she said, "Wow, that guy gets around!"). He is also mentioned in Helena's Notebook in Phantom of Venice and is found to have worked at the monkey research center in Ransom of the Seven Ships.
- Punchy LaRue is found on one of the plaques in Secret of the Scarlet Hand. In The Phantom of Venice your dancing name is Punchy LaRue and Punchy LaRue does the voice of Bess Marvin in The Final Scene
- Poppy Dada was mentioned by Elliot Chen in the game The Haunted Carousel and by Lou Talbot in the game White Wolf of Icicle Creek.
- On one of the plaques, one of the museum's contributors is Marquis del Falcone, perhaps a relative of Nicholas Falcone.
- This is the first Nancy Drew game that will show the next game's trailer.
Calling Franklin Rose about Prudence Rutherford after Joanna gets sent to the police station. If you call him at that time, the only thing you can tell him about is sending Joanna back to the museum and you'll not be able to talk to him about Prudence Rutherford, even if you call her, she'll never be there her or if you go on a walkthrough. The game won't progress.
Posting pictures for Henrik at the hospital. If you offer to post without having a picture, you will get stuck and not be able to continue.