When he was working alone, Strike’s business was on the brink of failure. Recruiting Robin is the happy accident that keeps the agency afloat through more than one crisis.
Sometimes Robin’s skills are the key to unlocking a case. At other times she steps in to save them both.
So how exactly do her talents complement his?
‘Where did you learn to drive like that?’
Ever since losing his leg while sitting in the back of a vehicle, Strike’s been a nervous passenger. As a rule, if Strike’s in a moving car, he’s the driver.
But he can’t drive manual thanks to his leg. When the dealership can’t provide him with an automatic for an urgent trip in The Silkworm, Robin takes the wheel and Strike witnesses first hand her skill when she avoids a catastrophic crash on the motorway.
Robin explains that, after dropping out of uni, driving became a hobby. She even took an advanced course, and and in her family Land Rover, learned to tear around off-road, like someone at the helm of a tank.
‘It’ll be too hot for a wig,’
Strike’s distinctive physical features – his size, hair and imposing demeanour – make undercover work a challenge for him. Not to mention his disability, which, although not immediately visible, can slow him down if the situation requires speed and agility.
Robin, on the other hand, is a dab hand at undercover work.
She’s good looking, but she doesn’t stand out.
She can fake a southern accent, which she does more than once as Venetia: a versatile alter-ego. In Career of Evil Venetia works a witness as a no-win, no-fee lawyer. In Lethal White she walks the halls of Westminster, an eager young SPAD (special advisor).
When required, Robin also exaggerates her Yorkshire twang. Like the time she dresses as the disenfranchised young jewellery sales-girl, Bobbi, complete with dyed hair and a lot of eye makeup.
‘They’re not going to talk to me,’
There are a few situations where a witness would never be as forthcoming with Strike as they are with Robin.
In The Silkworm, Strike and Robin discover the murder victim had a secret extramarital relationship. When they visit the woman, she’s with a skittish friend who finds Strike hard to trust.
Robin’s more gentle approach to the matter at hand quickly wins the pair over, and their testimony becomes a crucial key to unlocking the big questions and – eventually – solving the case.