Harrogate

Harrogate is a town not far from Robin Ellacott’s Yorkshire hometown, Masham. It is featured in Career of Evil, when Robin and her mother get Robin’s wedding dress refitted before she marries Matthew in July.

The dress fitting takes place on James Street, a street composed mostly of clothing and jewellery shops. After getting the dress fitted, Robin’s mother, Linda, suggests they go to Bettys of Harrogate, a famous tea room.

“Bettys of Harrogate was a local institution, the spa town’s long-established tearoom. There were hanging flower baskets outside, where customers queued under a black, gold and glass canopy, and within were tea-canister lamps and ornamental teapots, squashy chairs and waitresses in broderie anglaise uniforms.” – Career of Evil, chapter 13.

“It had been a treat to Robin, ever since she was small, to peer through the glass counter at rows of fat marzipan pigs, to watch her mother buying one of the luxurious fruitcakes laced with alcohol that came in its own special tin.” When we were there, there were no marzipan pigs, but there were marzipan frogs!

Here, Linda orders tea for Robin and herself, and a Fat Rascal, one of Bettys’ scones. It is at Bettys where Linda offers Robin the family Land Rover, which she accepts. In mid-conversation about Strike and Matthew, Linda gives half of her Fat Rascal to Robin, who hadn’t ordered anything to eat.

Robin thinks about Strike and how he likes his tea the colour of creosote, and she thinks about taking some of the Bettys tea back for him to have in the office.