Brixton is the district of London where Strike meets Kentigern Gardens’ security guard Derrick Wilson in the Phoenix Cafe on Coldharbour Lane for an interview. Prior to meeting Wilson, Strike takes a short detour through Brixton Market.

“He took an unnecessary detour through Brixton Market on the way to the café where he was meeting Derrick Wilson. The fishy smell of the covered arcades; the colourful open faces of the supermarkets, teeming with unfamiliar fruit and vegetables from Africa and the West Indies; the halal butchers and the hairdressers, with large pictures of ornate braids and curls, and rows and rows of white polystyrene heads bearing wigs in the windows: all of it took Strike back twenty-six years. The Cuckoo’s Calling, Part 2, Chapter 6

Walking through Brixton, Strike reflects on his months living here twenty-six years ago, when he was nine years old, with his half-sister Lucy, his mother Leda and her new boyfriend.

Leda and her boyfriend, Shumba, attempted to homeschool Strike and Lucy in their squat on Atlantic Road.

Strike recalls having learnt only one thing in those two months: that cannabis smoke renders the user both dull and paranoid. This short period terminated when Aunt Joan and Uncle Ted came to the rescue and took Strike and Lucy back to St Mawes in Cornwall.

Even after twenty-six years, Strike still remembers Brixton well, and doesn’t need a map to find his way to the Phoenix Cafe for his interview with Derrick Wilson.