There are a lot of hints throughout the Strike series that Robin and Cormoran are harboring romantic feelings for one another. It’s more conscious on Strike’s part (although he fights it), but it’s still somewhat subconscious in Robin’s mind.
For our special Valentine’s Day post, we here at StrikeFans.com thought we’d put together some excerpts that point toward the romantic inclinations our detective duo have for one another. If you can think of any others, please add them to the comments below!
From The Cuckoo’s Calling:
Of course, Strike is physically attracted to Robin from the very beginning, finding her pretty (although nothing compared to Charlotte in his mind) and showing off for her on their first investigative outing together in chapter 2: “He found Robin’s company satisfactory and restful, not only because she was hanging on his every word, and had not troubled to break his silences, but because that little sapphire ring on her third finger was like a neat full stop: this far, and no further.”
And then there is the scene at Vashti, of course.
“Robin stared at her own reflection; she had never worn anything so beautiful in her life…. She was a serpentine goddess in glittering viridian.”
At the time, Strike’s “only comment on the green dress was ‘Yeah.’ He had barely looked at her…. But there had been a weird intimacy about the moment, and intimacy was precisely what he wanted least at the moment…. Having normal sight and an unimpaired libido, he was also reminded every day she bent over the computer monitor that she was a very sexy girl…. That fact had never been so crudely presented to him as when she walked out of the changing room in the clinging green dress…. It was safest all around not to let the burgeoning friendship become too warm; best not to admire openly the sight of her figure draped in jersey” (chapters 4 and 5). Already, Strike is consciously fighting a growing attraction to Robin.
The poison-green dress makes another appearance at the end of the book, when Strike gives it to Robin as a going-away gift. Then, when Robin doesn’t go away … awkward….
From The Silkworm:
It’s very important to Robin that Strike attend her wedding so she can “see Strike in the congregation, approving (approving! Why did he have to approve?) of her marrying Matthew” (chapter 10). She doesn’t understand this need, which seems to be blossoming from a growing love for her boss.
At the very end of the book, when Strike and Robin are saying goodbye for Christmas break, she initiates a handshake “with mock brokenness.” But before letting go of her hand, Strike gives “it a quick twist. He had kissed the back of it before she knew what had happened.” Awwwwww…
From Career of Evil:
It isn’t until the third book in the series, in chapter 20, that a glimmer of Robin’s growing physical attraction is shown: “Women liked Strike — [Robin] had come to realize that over the months they had worked together. She had not understood the appeal when she had started working for him. He was so very different from Matthew.” She’d not understood it when she had started working for him — implying that she now understood the appeal?
In chapter 11, Strike thinks to himself when the subject of Robin’s impending wedding comes up, that “There’s still time…. For what, he did not specify, even to himself.” But we’re pretty sure we know for what!
Robin feels depressed anytime she Strike is with Elin or she thinks of them together, and she is clueless as to the reason for these feelings. Case in point in chapter 22: “Robin did not know why the announcement that Strike was off to meet Elin should lower her spirits. She supposed that she was tired.”
In chapter 23, when Robin and Strike embark on their road trip up north, Strike thoughtfully muses on how much happier he is with Robin than Elin, and he is honest with himself on this point: “He was not a man who told himself comfortable lies. He might have argued that Robin represented the ease of friendship; Elin, the pitfalls and pleasures of a sexual relationship. He knew that the truth was more complicated, and certainly made more so by the fact that the sapphire ring had vanished from Robin’s finger. He had known, almost from the moment they had met, that Robin represented a threat to his peace of mind, but endangering the best working relationship of his life would be an act of willful self-sabotage that he … could not and would not let happen.” So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Strike fully admits that he has a thing for Robin, and it goes way beyond her merely being “a threat to his peace of mind.”
Also in chapter 23, Robin tells Strike that Matthew wants her back. Strikes response is, “Course he does.” Robin gets “a small glow of pleasure” from this, with it being the first time Strike “had ever given any indication that he saw her as a woman, and she silently [files] away the exchange to pore over later, in solitude.”
In chapter 27, when the two of them reach their accommodations for the night, Robin is flustered and self-conscious and seems inordinately worried that Strike is going to invite himself into her room “on some slim pretext.” She chastises herself for thinking such thoughts, but they keep bombarding her mind. Strike is also thinking about Robin several rooms down, but he’s able to roll over and go to sleep.
If you have any doubts as to Strike’s feelings for Robin after this, read chapter 40. It plainly lays them out in an inward examination that is prompted by her getting back together with Matthew after she’d broken their engagement. There’s no question that Strike is emotionally upset and then conflicted by this turn of events.
Robin, on the other hand, is so detached from her deep feelings, she is actually annoyed that her mother, Linda, suspects she is “nursing a secret infatuation” for Strike. Linda is keen on meeting him when she’s in town in chapter 36, and concludes, “I liked him… and I have to say, he might not be pretty, but he’s got something about him.”