Samhain Athorn

We first hear of Samhain Athorn not by name, but when Irene describes him as the “really funny-looking kid” of the strange man from Clerkenwell who claimed to have killed Margot forty years previously.1

After a night of surveillance and a stroke of luck, Strike is having breakfast in a cafe on St John’s Street when he spots Samhain through the window. The man strongly resembles the child Irene had described, down to the particularly large ears.2 

Samhain lives in a small flat on Albermarle Way with his mother, Deborah.3 Both he and Deborah have Fragile X syndrome, a genetic condition which causes developmental problems. According to their social worker, Samhain functions better socially than his mother but has greater cognitive impairment.4

Strike gets the impression that Samhain enjoys having another man in the flat to talk to. Sam makes them all hot chocolate and shows Strike a couple things, including his father’s old magic book and art work he does at a weekly class. Samhain tells Strike that his late father, Gwilherm, believed he killed Margot with his magic, but that his Uncle Tudor told him that the local gang was responsible for her death.5

Samhaim loses his temper a couple times when his mother tries to limit his biscuit intake. At one point, he threatens to let his mother’s birds fly away and another time he kicks the ottoman, which hurts his foot.6


1: Troubled Blood, Chapter 20
2: Troubled Blood, Chapter 37
3: Troubled Blood, Chapter 38
4: Troubled Blood, Chapter 42
5: Troubled Blood, Chapter 38
6: Troubled Blood, Chapter 38