Known to the Chiswell family as “Raff,” Raphael Chiswell is the youngest son of Jasper Chiswell. Raff was the result of an affair Chiswell had with an Italian political journalist named Ornella Serafin. The affair also resulted in the end of Jasper Chiswell’s marriage to his first wife, Lady Patricia.
When telling Strike about his four children, Jasper Chiswell refers to Raff as “this other boy” and says that his youngest son has been “trouble all his life.” Jasper explains that Raff dropped out of his History of Art degree but he was able to get Raff a job at a friend’s art gallery. The job doesn’t last very long due to Raff getting caught having sex with Francesca, a young employee and goddaughter of the owner, Henry Drummond.
What caused his father the most grief, however, is the accident that resulted in a prison sentence for Raff. He had taken ecstasy and crashed his car into a young woman, a mother of a four-year-old. He served about a third of his sentence.
After being fired from the art gallery, Raff goes to work for his father in the House of Commons. His sister Izzy is hopeful that Raff will take over for her in their father’s Parliamentary Office. It is here that he meets Robin while she is undercover as Venetia Hall, Jasper Chiswell’s goddaughter. Unaware of Robin’s true identity or why she is really there, Raff becomes “rather smitten” with her and even admits later that he fell for her. Robin does not approve of Raff but reluctantly finds herself feeling sorry for him, noting that he is “nervy” around his father and is obviously the black sheep of the family. Raff also makes Robin feel “self-conscious and slightly flustered.” Robin was “wholly unprepared for how handsome he was in the flesh.” He is physically described as having dark skin and high cheek bones with “almost black eyes” and “dark hair worn long and floppy.” He’s also said to have “a wide mouth that, unlike his father’s, had a full upper lip.”
It is obvious that Raff doesn’t always fit in with the blonde, very English looking Chiswell family. Izzy is the only member of the family who visited him in prison, and it is well known that he has been removed from his father’s will and that his stepmother, Kinvara, strongly dislikes him. Raff is clearly not privy to the Chiswell family secrets as Izzy explains to Robin that Raff didn’t grow up with them and he “doesn’t know anything about the blackmail.”
Once no longer undercover, Robin later interviews Raff at a restaurant where they have dinner. She asks him about the Chiswell investigation, and he sheds some light on his relationship with his family. Raff believes that his father saw him as “a kind of upper servant and Izzy as proper family.”Go back