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Lesley May was a promising police constable who trained with Peter during their two year probationary period. Her position in the Metropolitan police was short-lived as she was severely disfigured during the events of the Rivers of London and placed on indefinite medical leave.[1] During this time she joined the The Folly as an apprentice practitioner under Thomas Nightingale.[2]

Prior to her possession by Mr. Punch, Lesley had an attractive face and is described as short and blonde. She has a fashionable but practical style that is apparent in her sensible shoe choices[3] and a leather jacket tailored to include her handcuffs.[4]


Lesley May is initially described as "impossibly perky", even in a stab vest.[5] Lesley is highly focused and frequently described as having a great aptitude for police work. She is described by Inspector Neblett as, "a proper thief-taker"[6] and by Chief Inspector Seawoll, as "the best of [her] generation"[7]. She has even referred to herself as, "bloody amazing as a copper."[8]

However, she has a bit of a cynical streak regarding the possibility of there ever actually being law and order.[9][10]

Early Life[]

Not much is known about Lesley's past. Like Peter, she grew up in "her fair share" of council housing.[11] She started her police career at the same time as Peter and finished her probationary period with outstanding results.

Her parents live outside of London in Brightlingsea, on the Essex coast. Her father is named Henry May, who works as a lorry driver. The name of her mother is unknown. She has five older sisters, one of whom is named Tanya.

She used to read books by Sophie Kinsella and Helen Fielding.[12]


131px-ENG COA Newton.svg.png Cave pericula secunda!
The following sections may contain spoilers for all novels and comics.

Rivers of London[]

Peter and Lesley finished their probationary constable period at the same time. Due to her outstanding performance as a probationary constable she was assigned to the assist the Westminster Murder Team's investigation into the murder of William Skirmish.[4] Peter was to be assigned to the less prestigious Case Progression Unit, but encountered Nightingale and was assigned instead to the Special Assessment Unit (SAU).

After performing CPR on infant Brandon Coopertown she is possessed by the ghost of Henry Pyke and malevolent spirit Mr. Punch. She remains possessed for several months before manifesting fully as Mr. Punch at the Royal Opera House and inciting the Covent Garden Riots. This full manifestation utilises a Dissimulo spell that results in her face falling off and subsequent severe disfigurement.

Moon Over Soho[]

Due to her disfigurement at the end of the Rivers of London, Lesley is not present for many of the events in Moon Over Soho aside from a visit from Peter at the beginning of the novel. She interrogates him about fixing her face with magic and has him demonstrate a 'Lux' spell. At the very end of the book, Peter returns to visit her and she has mastered the spell. After she was disfigured she begins wearing a full face plastic mask to cover the injury.

Whispers Underground[]

At the beginning of the book, Lesley has moved in to The Folly and been accepted as Nightingale's apprentice. Lesley begins to learn Newtonian magic alongside Peter and demonstrates a great aptitude for spells, but is less curious about the inner workings of magic than Peter. She undergoes multiple surgeries during the course of the novel, including one that restores her voice.

Broken Homes[]

Lesley features more prominently in Broken Homes than the previous two books, acting as Peter's partner in his case work. She notably starts a sexual relationship with Zach, mostly due to her seeking out someone who can see past her destroyed face.

At the end of Broken Homes, she betrays Peter in the final showdown between him and the Faceless Man by tasering him as he is about to reveal the Faceless Man's identity. By the end of the book she is missing and is suspected of having become an ally of the Faceless Man.

Foxglove Summer[]

Lesley texts Peter several times during the book, demonstrating knowledge of current police activities that she shouldn't have.  This initially causes problems for Peter as he is then suspected of keeping contact with her.

The Hanging Tree[]

Confronts Peter at Harrods, showing an apparently restored face. Suggests there are things about magic the Folly doesn't know and disappears, after having fought Peter and destroyed a department at Harrods in the process.

She engages with him again and is almost taken in for questioning by Peter and Guleed but once again she manages to escape.

In his final musings, Peter realises that her possession by Mr. Punch has made her vital to The Faceless Man's plans.

Lies Sleeping[]

Lesley continues her work with The Faceless Man and contacts Peter throughout trying to dissuade him from interfering with The Faceless Man's plans.

They meet face to face in a pub where she again warns Peter and tells him not to follow her. When Peter is captured following her, she is the one to provide food to him when he's captive with Foxglove.

In the book's final sequence she reveals the reason behind her partnership with The Faceless Man that she wants to kill Mr Punch for the damage done to her face. When Peter foils the plan she kills Faceless Man because he couldn't enact her revenge and escapes.

She remains at large.


Other information[]


  • In the US version of Rivers of London, titled Midnight Riot, and in the US edition of Moon Over Soho, her first name is spelled Leslie instead of Lesley. The author has written that he originally named the character Leslie with an "ie", which was changed by his British publisher but not his American publisher at the time. In the third book, the American publisher did not bother changing the name. A new US publisher took over the fourth book, and chose to keep using Lesley with an "ey". [14]