Before the start of The Cuckoo’s Calling, Cormoran Strike was living with his long-term girlfriend, Charlotte Campbell, whose flat is on Holland Park Avenue. After a massive argument in the early hours of the morning, Strike walks across London from there to his small office on Denmark Street, where he sleeps for an hour or two in his office chair. “It was the first time in their long and turbulent relationship that he had walked out.”
Looking at the route on the map, it takes an average person around an hour and a half to walk from Holland Park Avenue to Denmark Street. Taking Strike’s leg into account, he could have been walking for over two hours in the middle of the night.
Charlotte’s flat is described in the book as being a “stylish, expensive maisonette…”. In Part 2 Chapter 4, Strike goes back to the flat to pick up his few possessions. “The grand and gracious white buildings that lined the wide street; the plane trees; the butcher’s shop that might have been stuck in the 1950s; the cafés bustling with the upper middle classes; the sleek restaurants; they had always felt slightly unreal and stagey to Strike.”
Strike arrives at the flat at 9:30am, giving Charlotte half an hour to be out. On entering he instantly knows the place is empty. He notices that the photo of him and Charlotte on St Mawes beach had been taken down, to be replaced with an black-and-white portrait of her father. A painting of 18-year-old Charlotte stares down at him.
Charlotte had left his possessions in four cardboard boxes, which he carries down onto the pavement and waits to hail a black cab.
You can find Holland Park Avenue on Google Maps here: