Strike interviews Henry Worthington-Fields, a friend of ex-UHC member Flora Brewster, at a pub in Belgravia called The Grenadier. Strike is familiar with the pub, having been there years previously with Charlotte and her friends.
The pub was built in 1720 as the officers’ mess for a regiment of the British Army. It became a public house in 1818 called The Guardsman, and it was subsequently renamed in honour of the Grenadier Guards’ actions in the Battle of Waterloo.
‘The smartly painted frontage was red, white and blue; flower baskets hung beside the windows and a scarlet guard’s box stood outside the door’ (chapter 17).
‘The interior was exactly as Strike remembered it: military prints and paintings on the walls …’
‘… highly polished tables, red leather benches and hundreds of banknotes in different currencies pinned up on the ceiling’ (chapter 17).
‘The pub was supposed to be haunted by a soldier who’d been beaten to death after being discovered cheating at cards. The money left by visitors was to pay the ghost’s debt, but this hadn’t worked, as the spectral soldier continued to haunt the pub – or so the tourist-friendly story went’ (chapter 17).
Strike buys himself a pint of zero-alcohol beer from the bar and sits down. Whilst he waits for Henry Worthington-Fields, he reads an article about Brexit written by Fergus Robertson.
When Henry arrives, he orders himself a gin and tonic and sits opposite Strike. He tells Strike that he knows Charlotte as she is a customer of his antiques business. Strike interviews him about his experience at Chapman Farm and his friend Flora Brewster, ex-UHC member.
As Henry is leaving, Charlotte comes through the door. ‘Strike had suspected Charlotte was on her way from the moment Henry had mentioned their mutual connection’ (chapter 18). As she threatens to create a scene, Strike feels obliged to sit and talk to her for a few minutes. She buys herself a glass of wine and sits where Henry had been sitting.
Strike eventually manages to extricate himself, and in a stroke of good luck (especially since the pub is located on a quiet cul-de-sac), he manages to catch a cab back to Denmark Street almost immediately.
The pub’s website can be found here.
The Grenadier is on Wilton Row: