Strike’s oldest and one of his best friends is Dave Polworth, a civil engineer now living in Bristol with a wife named Penny. Polworth grew up in St. Mawes, where he and Strike became friends as far back as nursery. Having grown up on the sea coast, Polworth is really into surfing, fishing, sailing and scubadiving.
Polworth’s nickname is Chum, due to an incident that occurred when he and Strike were visiting Dave’s multimillionaire Uncle Kevin in Australia for his eighteenth birthday. He couldn’t resist touching a nearby shark while they were diving, and the shark attacked him, biting off a “tidy chunk of his forearm.” As a result, he has “only partial feeling in his right thumb.”
Described as “stubborn, reckless, a thrillseeker to his core,” Polworth is also a “man of many pithy theories,” some of which have to do with Strike’s love life. He calls Charlotte “Milady Berserko” and tries to warn Strike off of her. Polworth’s nickname for Strike is Diddy, a reference to the Cornish word “didicoy” for “gypsy.” With his frequent comings and goings from St. Mawes while growing up, Strike led somewhat of a gypsy lifestyle.