Margot (Margaret) Bamborough was a twenty-nine-year-old GP who worked at St. John’s Medical Practice in the Clerkenwell area of London back in the mid 1970s. She disappeared after work on the rainy night of 11 October 1974, never to be seen again. It is assumed that serial killer Dennis Creed, who was active at the time, was responsible, but this was never proven. Margot’s only child, daughter Anna Phipps, who is in her 40s during the events of Troubled Blood, hires Strike and Robin to investigate the cold case of her mother’s disappearance.
Margot is described as being tall and “attractive, [with an] even-featured face with wide-set eyes, her wavy, dark blonde hair center-parted.”1 From a family of lower socio-economic status, Margot raised funds for medical school through a job as a bunny girl at the London Playboy Club. It is here that she meets Oonagh Kennedy, who becomes her best friend. The friends had planned to meet at the Three Kings pub — a five-minute walk from St. John’s practice — on the evening of Margot’s disappearance.
Throughout witness interviews in Troubled Blood, Margot’s personality comes to light. She was an opinionated individual unafraid have friendly arguments with colleagues over different political and social issues. Margot also was a feminist who encouraged the women in her office to meet their full potential — a “great improver of people … whether they wished to be improved or not,”2 as Dr. Dinesh Gupta affectionately describes her. In keeping with her dedication to helping the underserved and boosting women’s education, she was a member of the Workers’ Educational Association.3 Also, Oonagh describes Margot as being “the funniest person I ever knew in my life.”4 Although Gupta and Oonagh very much liked Margot, others didn’t necessarily, including Dr. Joseph Brenner, Dorothy Oakden and Irene Bull Hickson. Janice Beattie and Margot are reported to have gotten along, but there was also a disagreement between them involving Janice’s son, Kevin.
Margot was married to wealthy hematologist Roy Phipps, the father of her one-year-old daughter. Her favorite music album was Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark (Margot’s “religion,” according to Oonagh5), her favorite perfume was Rive Gauche and she was “addicted to chocolate.”6
1 Troubled Blood, chapter 2
2 Troubled Blood, chapter 10
3 Troubled Blood, chapter 10
4 Troubled Blood, chapter 24
5 Troubled Blood, chapter 24
6 Troubled Blood, chapter 6