Elegant and predatory character who appears in three Thomas Harris novels; Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal. In the first two novels, the refined Dr. Lecter is imprisoned in a Psychiatric Hospital and amuses himself by using humans as pieces in his own game of Mental Chess and sketching great works of art solely from memory. Dr. Lecter is described as having maroon eyes and six fingers on one hand.
Dr. Lecter was once a respected psychiatrist and gourmet until it was discovered that he was killing and eating his more annoying patients. Dr. Lecter's culinary peculiarities earned him the moniker, "Hannibal the Cannibal". Although Dr. Lecter has a history of treachery and a cold, amoral amusment at the misguided intellectual forays of lesser mortals, the FBI occasionally contacts him in time of need because of his invaluable insight into the human mind. Dr. Lecter develops a strange and twisted relationship with Clarice Starling, who was assigned to interview Dr. Lecter.
An interesting sidenote is that Dr. Lecter never uttered his most famous line in the novels. Although he was excellently portratyed by Anthony Hopkins in the 1991 film version of Silence of the Lambs, the character in the novel never said, "I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti". Dr. Lecter was an oenophile with rarefied tastes, and in the novel he ate human liver with "a big amarone". Fearing that audiences would be confused by the more obscure wine, the makers of the movie decided to change the wine to a more mundane but more easily recognizable chianti.