“He’s Paul Satchwell, an artist—though not a very highbrow one, by the sounds of it. When the press got onto him, he was designing a mural for a nightclub. He’s Margot’s ex.” 1
Margot Bamborough’s ex boyfriend Paul Satchwell is one of the key suspects in her disappearance. Margot met Satchwell when she was nineteen or twenty and working as a Bunny Girl at the Playboy Club. 2
Strike tells Robin about Satchwell by showing her a photo from an old newspaper clipping. 3
“‘God above,’ said Robin, looking down at another press photograph.
The man’s thick, wavy hair reached well past his shoulders. He stood, unsmiling, with his hands on his narrow hips beside a painting of what appeared to be two writhing lovers. His shirt was open almost to his navel and his jeans were skin tight at the crotch and extremely wide at the ankle.
‘I thought you’d enjoy that,’ said Strike, grinning at Robin’s reaction.’” 4
Even though Paul Satchwell has a good alibi 5, Margot’s best friend Oonagh is most suspicious of him because of the tumultuous relationship he had with Margot. Oonagh recalls that he was an abusive partner and even once held her in his flat against her will. Despite the abuse, Oonagh says that Margot was madly in love with Satchwell. “You could feel the heat off the two of them…Mad in love, she was. Mad.” 6
Robin spends a lot of time trying to find Satchwell and her efforts eventually pay off when she finds an art show featuring his work in Leamington Spa. 7 When Robin meets the artist, he’s elderly with “skin as brown as old terra-cotta” and “straggly white” shoulder length hair. His shirt is open to reveal white chest hair and he wore “a silver chain hung around his crêpe-skinned throat, and silver and turquoise rings decorated his fingers.” His left eye is also covered in surgical dressing. 8
Satchwell is initially kind to Robin as he looks her up and down and as they head to the Roebuck Inn for a lunch interview, but eventually we see the dangerous side that Oonagh warned about. 9
“I think,” he said, with as much malevolence as he could muster, “you’re a nasty little bitch.” 10
1-5: Troubled Blood, Chapter 14
6: Troubled Blood, Chapter 24
7: Troubled Blood, Chapter 43
8: Troubled Blood, Chapter 46
9, 10: Troubled Blood, Chapter 47