Elin Toft is Strike’s girlfriend throughout Career of Evil. She is described as “an ex-professional violinist, now a presenter on Radio Three, a stunning Nordic-looking blonde who reminded Robin of a more beautiful Sarah Shadlock.” Understandably, with this resemblance, Robin isn’t too fond of Elin — plus, the blonde referred to Robin as Strike’s “secretary.”
Strike meets Elin at a party at Nick and Ilsa’s house in January 2011. Nick works with Elin’s brother, who is also a doctor. As it turns out, like Robin, Ilsa isn’t too fond of Elin.
Elin is in the process of divorcing, so she and Strike have to sneak around on their dates. Their dates consist mainly of dining at off-the-beaten-path French and Indian restaurants and having sex at her place, which is a “spectacular flat” located at Clarence Terrace, “a quiet, symmetrical Nash terrace that resemble[s] a sculpture in vanilla ice cream.” Elin has a young daughter whom Strike has never met (and would rather not, with his own mother’s history of bringing home strange men).
In Strike’s estimation, the sex is by far the best part of his and Elin’s relationship. He finds it difficult and unsatisfying trying to have conversations with her. Elin is intelligent and interested in Strike’s work, but she is “strangely unimaginative and ha[s] none of the innate interest in and easy empathy for other people that Robin display[s].” Additionally, there is a huge disparity in their incomes, with wealthy Elin living an extravagantly lavish lifestyle.