Piccadilly Circus is a world-famous landmark – it’s like the Times Square of London – so there’s no wonder it’s a recurring location in the Strike and Ellacott series.
The Statue of Eros (also known as Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain) is located at the southeastern side of Piccadilly Circus. The statue dates from 1893 when it was dedicated to Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, a politician and philanthropist. One of the streets that converges on Piccadilly Circus is also named for the earl.
At the time of the dedication, controversy swirled about the statue, as some Londoners thought the nude(-ish) statue was inappropriate for honoring the stuffy Earl Shaftesbury. Others thought it was a perfect representation, since the statue is located in the theatre district of Soho, which is basically party central for London.
But back to why Piccadilly Circus and this statue are included in the series….
In The Cuckoo’s Calling:
“Shortly after midnight, [Robin’s] long-term boyfriend, Matthew, had proposed to her under the statue of Eros in the middle of Piccadilly Circus…. There, flinging discretion to the chilly wind (in a most un-Matthew-like way), he had proposed, on one knee, in front of three down-and-outs huddled on the steps, sharing what looked like a bottle of meths.”
When we were at the statue, there weren’t any meth-heads, but there was this guy getting friendly with the pigeons….
Also from The Cuckoo’s Calling, one of the Strike-in-Piccadilly mentions:
“Though he did not know it, Strike was, at that very moment, passing the scene of the most romantic moments of Robin’s life. The steps below the statue of Eros were swarming with Italian teenagers this morning, as Strike went by on the St James’s side, heading for Glasshouse Street. The entrance to Barrack, the nightclub which had so pleased Deeby Macc that he had remained there for hours, fresh off the plane from Los Angeles, was only a short walk from Piccadilly Circus.”
(To the best of our knowledge, Barrack is fictitious.)
In The Silkworm, Robin “remembered the flashing neon lights of Piccadilly reflected on Matthew’s beaming face.”
In the seventh Strike novel, The Running Grave, Piccadilly Circus is mentioned as being the location near where Robin and Ryan have dinner, in sight of the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain.
Find the Statue of Eros on Google Maps here: