Roy Phipps

At the time of Margot Bamborough’s disappearance, she had a one-year-old daughter with her husband, Roy Phipps.1 Margot and Roy met in her second year of medical school and married shortly after graduation.2 According to Margot’s best friend, Oonagh, Roy was handsome and connected with Margot intellectually but said he didn’t show a lot of emotion and called him a manipulator and a sulker. She further explains that he would even go days or weeks without speaking to Margot when he was angry.3 Dr. Gupta’s impression of him is that he was very spoiled. A handsome man, who’d been made a prince by his mother.”

The day that Margot disappeared, Roy was in bed due to a condition called von Willebrand Disease, a bleeding disorder that prevents a person from clotting properly.5 After medical school, Roy became a hematologist6 and worked for a teaching hospital7 doing lectures and research.8 

Anna and Kim tell Strike and Robin early on that they don’t want to involve Roy in the investigation because it would not be well received by him. Not only is he dealing with a diagnosis of prostate cancer9, but also Anna believes that her father might never forgive her if he finds out she hired a private detective.10

When Roy does find out about the investigation, he demands to meet Strike and Robin. At their meeting in his home, he has an explosive and defensive reaction. 

“‘Well,’ said Roy at last, addressing Strike. ‘I’d be interested to hear what you think your chances are of finding out what the Metropolitan Police has been unable to discover in four decades.’

Robin was sure Roy had been planning this aggressive opening during the long and painful silence.

‘Fairly small,’ said Strike matter-of-factly, once he’d swallowed a large piece of the cake Cynthia had given him, ‘though we’ve got a new alleged sighting of your first wife I wanted to discuss with you.’

Roy looked taken aback.” 11

While Robin thought an old photo of Roy looked like a 1974 poet12, his remaining hair was short, gray and clung only around his ears and the back of his head.” In his knitted sweater vest, “with his high, domed, shining pate and his wild eyes, slightly sunken in a blotchy face, he’d now be better suited to the role of mad scientist.” 13


1: Troubled Blood, Chapter 6
2, 3: Troubled Blood, Chapter 24
4: Troubled Blood, Chapter 10
5: Troubled Blood, Chapter 14
6: Troubled Blood, Chapter 10
7: Troubled Blood, Chapter 24
8: Troubled Blood, Chapter 36
9: Troubled Blood, Chapter 35
10: Troubled Blood, Chapter 7
11: Troubled Blood, Chapter 36
12: Troubled Blood, Chapter 14
13: Troubled Blood, Chapter 36

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