Nick Herbert is one of Strike’s oldest friends. They met at “a good rough old comprehensive” school in London when they were teenagers. It was at Strike and Nick’s joint eighteenth birthday party that Nick met the girl who would eventually become his wife, Ilsa. She grew up with Strike in St. Mawes in Cornwall, where they attended the village school together whenever Strike was living with his aunt and uncle.
Ilsa and Nick dated for a year but broke up when they left to attend separate universities. They got back together in their midtwenties and were married. Strike was the best man in their wedding. It’s stated that Nick and Ilsa are “the only place where where the two halves of Cormoran’s life intersected: London and Cornwall, happily married.” Nick now is a gastroenterologist in London and lives on Octavia Street in Wandsworth with Ilsa.
Nick is described as “a fair-haired man with a receding hairline,” which had begun to recede while he was still in his twenties. He’s a Spurs football fan, much to the chagrin of the Arsenal-loving Strike. Nick’s nickname — or Nick’s name, haha — for Strike is “Oggy.” Nick’s father is a cabbie, who over the years shared his knowledge of London streets with both Nick and Strike. Both Nick and Nick’s dad’s taxi come in handy for Strike in The Silkworm.
Also in The Silkworm, Nick and Ilsa attend Strike’s birthday dinner hosted by Strike’s sister Lucy, at her house. Nick and Ilsa’s birthday gift for Strike is a bottle of Arran Single Malt whisky, his favourite, but it reminds him of Charlotte, with whom he first tried it. Later in the book, Strike stays at Nick and Ilsa’s house to avoid the press “crawling all over Denmark Street.”
Later, at a party hosted by Nick and Ilsa, Strike meets Elin, a girlfriend he has throughout Career of Evil. She had come to the party with her brother, who is a doctor who works with Nick.
Also in Career of Evil, Strike stays at Nick and Ilsa’s house to avoid the press on Denmark Street. They are very welcoming to him, telling him that he can stay as long as he wants. Staying in their white, austere guest room, Strike is painfully aware of the fact that Ilsa and Nick have been trying for a few years to have a child with no success.