Wilma Bayliss

At the time of Margot’s disappearance, Wilma Bayliss was the St John’s practice cleaner and a personal cleaner to Margot and her husband, Roy. According to Dr. Gupta, she and Margot got along well, but he believes that Margot had encouraged Wilma to leave her husband, who had been convicted of rape in 1972.1

By the time Wilma passed away in 2003, she had become a social worker and raised five very successful children after divorcing her husband in 1975.2

Wilma’s daughters are hesitant at first to talk to Strike and Robin, and Robin later realizes that DI Talbot had been extra hard on Wilma, even harassing her, which Robin attributes to Talbot being “definitely racist.”3

“‘Exactly. I think he really harassed her, and probably the family, too,’ Robin said. ‘The language he uses for Wilma — “crude,” “dis­honest”…’ Robin flicked back to the page featuring the three horned signs, ‘and “woman as she is now in this eon … armed and militant.’

‘A radical feminist witch.’

‘Which sounds quite cool when you say it,’ said Robin, ‘but I don’t think Talbot meant it that way.’” 4

Throughout the book, it becomes quite important to Robin that everyone remembers that Wilma was more than just a cleaner.

“‘Wilma wasn’t a cleaner by the time she died,’ Robin reminded him. ‘She was a social worker.’

Even as she said it, Robin wondered why she felt the need to correct him. Perhaps it was simply that if Wilma Bayliss was to be forever referred to as a cleaner, she, Robin, might as well be forever called ‘the temp.’” 5


1: Troubled Blood, Chapter 10
2: Troubled Blood, Chapter 15
3: Troubled Blood, Chapter 53
4: Troubled Blood, Chapter 52
5: Troubled Blood, Chapter 18