Jago Ross

The Honorable James ‘Jago’ Murdo Alastair Fleming Ross, described as an “Adonis”1 and “handsome in the manner of an Aryan prince”2 (as well as an “outstanding cunt” by Strike3), is Charlotte‘s previous boyfriend from when they and Strike attended Oxford University. Jago Ross hails from the Scottish aristocracy with quite a pedigree: “twelve generations of well-documented lineage,”4 including being the son of the Fourteenth Viscount of Croy.5 He attended Eton College boarding school.

Jago Ross at the time of The Cuckoo’s Calling is reported as having been divorced once with children6, as well as having had “a succession of high-flying jobs, … a persistent drinking problem” and a temperament that is “vicious in the manner of an overbred, badly disciplined animal.” Jago Ross and Charlotte are connected through a network of aristocratic families, “through generations of interbreeding and old-school ties,” 7 a connection that sees them eventually marrying in The Silkworm. 8

Jago Ross is mentioned again in Lethal White when Strike runs into Charlotte at a Paralympian event, where Jago’s niece is a participant. Charlotte is pregnant with Jago’s twins — a boy and a girl. Charlotte says that Jago is “pleased about the boy.”

Through Charlotte’s texts to Strike in Troubled Blood, she implies that her marriage to Jago is an unhappy one, even telling Strike that Jago calls her “evil”. 10 As Charlotte’s texts become increasingly worrisome, Strike decides to reach out to Jago if necessary. 11

In The Ink Black Heart, we meet Jago in person. We are told that his full name is the Honourable James Murdo Alastair Fleming Ross.12 He has three daughters with his first wife, the eldest of whom is fourteen years old and named Christabel13, the younger two are named Ari and Tatty14.  He also has twins with Charlotte, a boy named James and a girl, Mary, but he and Charlotte are now divorcing15. At the time of this book, he is living in a “palatial” flat in Kensington that belongs to his parents, and the merchant bank for which he works is based in the Walkie Talkie building on Fenchurch Street.16

Overall, Jago’s behaviour in The Ink Black Heart does nothing to contradict Strike’s original description of him.

1: The Cuckoo’s Calling, Part 3, Chapter 7
2: The Cuckoo’s Calling, Part 4, Chapter 6
3: The Cuckoo’s Calling, Part 4, Chapter 5
4: The Cuckoo’s Calling, Part 4, Chapter 6
5: The Silkworm, Chapter 23
6: The Cuckoo’s Calling, Part 4, Chapter 5
7: The Cuckoo’s Calling, Part 4, Chapter 6
8: The Silkworm, Chapter 42
9: Lethal White, Chapter 33
10: Troubled Blood, Chapter 54
11: Troubled Blood, Chapter 24
12: The Ink Black Heart, Chapter 38
13: The Ink Black Heart, Chapter 43
14: The Ink Black Heart, Chapter 54
15: The Ink Black Heart, Chapter 87
16: The Ink Black Heart, Chapter 38