Eric Wardle is a detective sergeant for the Metropolitan Police in The Cuckoo’s Calling and a detective inspector in Career of Evil. He first appears in the Strike series in the very first chapter of The Cuckoo’s Calling, where he’s at the scene of the murder with Detective Inspector Roy Carver. Wardle loves the attention from the paparazzi. He is “boyishly good-looking, with thick, wavy brown hair.” He has hair that Cormoran Strike envies in other men. Nobody would say that Eric Wardle was a “pubehead”. When Robin first meets Wardle in Career of Evil he is describes as “a handsome man with a thick head of chestnut hair and chocolate-brown eyes, who was wearing a leather jacket and jeans.”
Throughout the Lula Landry case in The Cuckoo’s Calling, Eric Wardle helps Cormoran Strike out with a few things. He exchanges the case file for information Strike received for leverage from a friend. In the end, Wardle is able to take some of the glory for catching Lula Landry’s killer.
In Career of Evil, Wardle seems to have gone from being Detective Sergeant to Detective Inspective.
Wardle and Strike meet in The Feathers at various occasions, which is a pub close to New Scotland Yard. In Career of Evil they meet in the Old Blue Last; here, Strike meets Eric’s wife April. Meeting Robin for the first time at the office, Wardle is impressed by her and mentions that he should offer her a job with the police. Strike wasn’t happy about this.
April Wardle is described as being “a young woman with pale blue hair and crimson lips.” In the Old Blue Last, when Cormoran meets her for the first time, she is wearing “a leather jacket over what looked like a forties summer dress.” Strike thought she was very pretty and is surprised by the appearance or Eric Wardle’s wife and for “reasons he was too tired to analyse, it made him like Wardle better.” (Career of Evil, Chapter 13)
In Lethal White Wardle is working “deep in anti-terrorist stuff for the Olympics” but Strike relays tips and information to the Met through Wardle. Wardle also gives Strike a few names of missing children which Strike hopes will help begin his search into Billy Knight’s claims.
It’s nice to note that the friendship between Strike and Wardle appears to have grown and become genuine. Strike describes Wardle as his “mate” and they have a funny banter that includes Wardle teasing Strike on a regular basis. It was at Wardle’s birthday where Strike met his current girlfriend, Lorelei.