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    Cormoran Strike 

Cormoran Strike

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/13855059_low_res_strike_career_of_evil_dceff95.jpg
Played by: Tom Burke

A former military police investigator who became a private detective after losing his leg in Afghanistan.


  • An Arm and a Leg: He lost part of his right leg to an improvised explosive device while on a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Even after the Lula Landry case makes him mildly famous, many people still can’t get his name right. "Cameron" tends to be the most common corruption of his first name. You'd think people could at least get "Strike" right, but people often end up on "Strick."
  • Child Hater: A downplayed example. He definitely never really wanted to have children, even when he still had a girlfriend. He can make a decent pretense of getting along with them when he has to, and has a godson, but throughout a dinner with his godson's family (which has recently grown) is somewhat secretly uncomfortable and the screaming and antics of the children reminds him of exactly why he never wants to have any.
  • Defective Detective: Only to a certain extent. While Strike is a war-wounded amputee with a tempestuous on-and-off relationship, death threats from a former client, and debt up to his eyeballs, he still manages to retain a remarkably level headed personality, free of self-destructive impulses.
  • Drink Order: Whether he's interrogating witnesses, setting up information swaps with the police, or simply relaxing, Strike will order a pint of Doom Bar, a Cornish ale that reminds him of home.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: It's Blue. His mother named him after the band Blue Öyster Cult, because she was obsessed with the lead singer.
    • In the traditional Chinese translations released in Taiwan, "Cormoran" is transliterated as 柯莫藍 (romanised as "Ke Mo Lan") right from the beginning. 藍 means "Blue".
  • Heroic Bastard: Strike is the illegitimate child of a famous rock star, who for his part has a positively Victorian attitude towards Strike's existence.
  • Kavorka Man: Cormoran Strike looks like a boxer who’s had his nose broken too many times, is incredibly hairy, lost half his leg, and at the start of The Cuckoo's Calling, he is overweight. And yet, his on-again, off-again girlfriend Charlotte is described as supermodel gorgeous and over the course of his debut story he has sex with an actual supermodel without even trying. In fact, he never has a single love interest (no matter how brief) who isn't gorgeous.
    • Interestingly, a throwaway line from Lady Bristow in The Cuckoo's Calling, implies that Johnny Rokeby also qualifies as this.
  • The Masochism Tango: seems to be a good description of his long-standing, off and on relationship with Charlotte (especially since some of his flashbacks to their relationship imply she was also emotionally abusive to him).
  • Meaningful Name: Both his name and surname…
  • Sesquipedalian Smith: "Cormoran Strike".
  • Stiff Upper Lip: Despite all the difficulties Strike is experiencing, he maintains some degree of discipline in confronting his demons. It’s notable that most of his struggles are external, while his internal conflict is somewhat minimal.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Cormoran to a mild degree in The Cuckoo's Calling. He gets over it by the time of The Silkworm.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: "Cormoran Blue Strike" — justified given his mother's... eccentricities.
  • Women Drivers: He is biased against them due to several past bad experiences and knows it. He reluctantly allows Robin to drive him in The Silkworm and is surprised but pleased to have his biases challenged when Robin turns to be a hypercompetent driver who has taken advanced driving courses.
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     Robin Ellacott 

Robin Venetia Ellacott

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ps_cormoranstrike_animagos_5_683x1024.jpg
Played by: Holliday Grainger

Cormoran’s secretary. Recently moved to London from Yorkshire, she becomes fascinated with detective work.


  • Deuteragonist: The narration focuses on her almost as much as it does on Strike.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: She's not overly fond of the name Venetia, and who can blame her? Despite this, though, she still uses it twice when going undercover.
  • Girl Friday: Robin is this for Strike, providing an astonishing level of support and doing a lot of legwork.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Robin has Strawberry-Blonde hair and is firmly on the side of the angels.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Robin exhibits traits of this right from the get-go, and she only becomes more competent as the series progresses. Unlike many other examples of this trope, Strike recognizes and appreciates her competency and is fully aware how lucky he is to have her around.
  • Meaningful Name: "Robin" is a singularly appropriate name for a great detective’s sidekick.
  • Rape as Backstory / Rape as Drama: Robin dropped out of university after being raped on campus. While she had a so-called "good ending" as she both identified her attacker and testified to bring him to justice, the trauma has had a continuing effect on her life: her planned career was derailed after she had to drop out of university, and in Lethal White she comes to the realization that if the rape hadn't left her feeling that Matthew was the only man outside her family that she was safe with, they never would have stayed together so long, or embarked on their doomed marriage.
  • Took a Level in Badass: By the second novel, Robin turns out to be an expert driver who has taken advanced driving courses and has practiced those skills. Cormoran compares her skills to the combat-trained drivers he's met in the Army.

Recurring Characters

Family Members

     Matthew Cunliffe 

Matthew Cunliffe

Robin’s fiancé. An accountant in an important firm.


  • Disposable Fiancé: Played with. The first novel paints him as one of these, but Robin and him are still together for the following books and eventually get married at the end of Career of Evil. But she finally does leave him a year into the marriage in Lethal White.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Intensely jealous of Strike, whom he believes is trying to have an affair with Robin.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Complains a lot about the long hours Robin keeps at her detective work, even though he does the exact same thing in his accounting job.
    • His constant paranoia over Robin's relationship with Strike becomes even more outrageous after it's revealed he cheated on her. When confronted with this, he has the nerve to claim it's not "like for like".
  • Informed Attribute: Robin seems to think that Matthew is a wonderful human being who is utterly deserving of her love and devotion til death do them part. All the reader ever sees of Matthew is an overly jealous, paranoid, egotistical, short-tempered, and emotionally manipulative man-child who definitely sees his own happiness and goals as more important than Robin's. She finally starts to get wise in the third book, Career of Evil, and leaves him for good in Lethal White after having been married to him for over a year only to discover that he's again cheating on her. She realizes that she no longer loves him and tells him to his face.
  • It's All About Me: He has the singular ability to reframe every single problem or situation as a function of how it will affect or inconvenience him.
  • Jerkass: To the point where you wonder just what Robin sees in him.
  • Never My Fault: Basically an extension of the "it's all about me" above. Pretty much any problem in his and Robin's relationship is, in his mind, her fault, no matter what it might be.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Although he is a lot more subtle about it than most, this attitude of his comes more to the forefront when Robin starts working with Strike.
  • Your Cheating Heart: He had an affair with Sarah Shadlock while Robin was recovering from the trauma of her rape. And then, after over a year of their being married, he does so again with the same woman. This, not surprisingly, is the final straw that causes her to leave him for good.

     Lucy Strike 

Lucy Strike

Cormoran’s younger sister on his mother’s side.


    Leda Strike 

Leda Strike

Cormoran's mother, a semi-famous groupie who died of an overdose.


  • Celeb Crush: She was obsessed with Eric Bloom from Blue Öyster Cult, but she never managed to get him in bed.
  • Posthumous Character: she is long dead by the time the novels take place, but her influence in Strike's life continues to be profound nevertheless.
  • Really Gets Around: Leda was quite promiscuous for most of her life, giving birth to three children from as many parents.
  • Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: She lived this lifestyle to the fullest, to the point that near the end of her life she had become a minor icon of the British music scene.
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     Charlotte Campbell 

Charlotte Ross née Campbell

Strike’s former fiancé and on-again off-again girlfriend of many years.


  • Bastard Girlfriend: Emotionally and (on at least one occasion) physically abusive to Strike.
  • Rich Bitch: She seems nice, but this is what she is at heart.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Her first appearance in the flesh is when Robin bumps into her at the beginning of the first book, but her presence weighs heavily across the following books, until she reappears in Lethal White.
  • Yandere: This woman is as insane as she is hot. Unfortunately, while Strike is fully aware of it, he still can’t let go of his obsession with her.
  • What Does She See in Him?: The question in everyone’s mind when they see her and Strike together. If they really knew what she was like, they would be asking the opposite question.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Heavily implied, given that there are just three weeks between her breakup with Strike and her engagement to the man she was with before him. Strike himself certainly thinks so.

     Jonny Rokeby 

Jonny Rokeby

Strike's father and a famous rockstar.


  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Is Jonny a deadbeat dad who only showed interest in his son out of fear that Cormoran would sell his story to the tabloids, or is he genuinely interested in forming a relationship with Cormoran that Cormoran doesn't want? We don't know what happened during the two times they've met, and Jonny's behavior since Cormoran left the army is difficult to understand, not helped by Al and Cormoran's very different opinions of their father.
  • Disappeared Dad: Even after a DNA test proved he was Strike's father, he didn't make any attempt to have any kind of relationship with his son. Strike has only met him twice in all his life.
    • It's implied in The Silkworm that Strike may be deliberately perpetuating this (although who could blame him?). Strike's half-brother Al claims that Rokeby is actually quite proud of his detective son and would like to meet him, and that it's Strike who keeps making sure that doesn't happen.
  • The Ghost: He is mentioned in every novel, but he has yet to make an appearance in the flesh.
  • Really Gets Around: He has fathered 7 children from 5 different women, only 3 of whom he was married to at the time.

    Alexander 'Al' Rokeby 

Al Rokeby

Strike's half-brother on his father side.


  • Early-Bird Cameo: He is first mentioned in the The Cuckoo's Calling alongside all of Jonny Rokeby's children when Robin reads the rock star's Wikipedia page, before playing a supporting role in The Silkworm.
  • Jumped at the Call: When Strike asks for his help with the Quine case, he is all too happy to help.
  • Nice Guy: The only one of Jonny Rokeby's many children to make any attempt to have a relationship with Strike.

Metropolitan Police

     Roy Carver 

Detective Inspector Roy Carver

The detective with the Metropolitan Police who led the Lula Landry case and later becomes involved with the Shacklewell Ripper case.


  • Fat Bastard: Carver is an unmitigated asshole who also happens to be quite paunchy.
  • Fat Slob: His shirts are usually ringed with sweat around the armpits and his shoulder covered in dandruff.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Even the other policemen detest him, to the point that Anstis refers to him as a cunt.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: He takes an instant dislike towards Strike and refuses to even consider any leads coming from him.
  • Police are Useless: In contrast with his colleagues who are portrayed as simply misguided, Strike considers Carver downright incompetent.
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     Richard Anstis 

Detective Inspector Richard Anstis

A detective with the Metropolitan Police who was involved in the incident that cost Strike his leg. The lead detective in the Owen Quine case.


  • Friend on the Force: He starts off as this, but becomes more antagonistic towards Strike when Leonora Quine is arrested for the murder.
  • Inspector Lestrade: He has shades of this. Strike considers him a competent investigator, but lacking in imagination.

     Eric Wardle 

Detective Sergeant Eric Wardle

A detective in the Metropolitan Police. The lead detective on the Shacklewell Ripper case.


  • Eating the Eye Candy: Wardle never passes up a chance to get a good look at a pretty lady.
  • Fair Cop: He is boyishly handsome, his good looks being one of the first things we learn about him.
  • Friend on the Force: He is a lot friendlier towards Strike and Robin than most of his colleagues in the Met. By the end of Career of Evil, he is the only policeman in London on speaking terms with Strike, though this changes at the end of Lethal White after Strike and Robin call in the police on their case, realizing it's likely the only way to prevent a second murder.

Characters from The Cuckoo's Calling

For characters introduced in The Cuckoo's Calling, see here.

Characters from The Silkworm

For characters introduced in The Silkworm, see here.

Characters from Career of Evil

For characters introduced in Career of Evil, see here.

Characters from Lethal White

For characters introduced in Lethal White, see here.

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