“ I gave the prescribed Metropolitan Police "first greeting".
"Oi!" I said "What do you think you're doing?” 

― Peter Grant, Rivers of London

Peter Grant is the mixed race protagonist of the Rivers of London series. He is a detective constable with the London Metropolitan Police as well as an apprentice wizard. He is 25 years old at the start of series, and approximately 31 year old in the most recent novel, Lies Sleeping.[1] By members of the magical community and the demi-monde he is sometimes referred to as 'the Starling', 'Nightingale's Starling' or less often 'Herald of the Morning'.[2] He has self-described his own appearance using the police jargon "between IC3 and IC6".


Peter has a very positive albeit slightly wry outlook on life. He is curious and innovative, but very easily distracted, sometimes by magical vestigia, more frequently by beautiful women. Though his decisions may be occasionally rash, they are always well-intended and he has an earnest desire to protect innocents. He has been described as a "cheeky bugger".

Early life and familyEdit

Peter Grant was born the University College Hospital, London, to Richard 'Lord' Grant and his wife Rose, a Fula, from Sierra Leone, circa 1987. He was raised in the Peckwater Estate, off Leighton Road in Kentish Town.[3] He has stated on multiple occasions that Legos were his favorite toy as a child.[4] When he was younger he harbored romantic dreams of emigrating to South Africa.[5]

Homelife Edit

Although never fully elaborated on, Peter has suggested his childhood was not idyllic. He ran away from home twice when young, although he returned on his own on both occasions.[4] During an interview with Zoe Thomas he gives his reason for running away as his father's heroin addiction.[4] Peter has also referenced a past 'family lean patch' meaning there were financial difficulties as well.[6]

Education Edit

Before joining the police, he was planning to study architecture, but gave up because his draftmanship was awful.[3]

Previous Jobs Edit

At one point, he worked in a coffee kiosk which was "a bastard to work in".[7]

He has several cousins: Abigail Kamara[8] and Obe (an electrician?).[6] Peter also has an uncle named Tito[9] and an aunt named Jo.[8]

Police CareerEdit

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

Rivers of LondonEdit

After finishing his training at Hendon Police College, Peter joins the Charing Cross police station, Westminster, for a two year period as a probationary constable, together with fellow probationer, Lesley May.

After his probationary period ends, Peter is initially assigned to the Case Progression Unit (CPU).  Following a meeting with Nicholas Wallpenny he instead joins a specialised unit of Economic and Special Crime, based at the Folly, at the request of DCI Thomas Nightingale. As part of his new duties he is tasked with resolving the feud between the God and the Godess of the river Thames, during which he meets Beverley Brook.

Moon over SohoEdit

Peter Grant meets and has a relationship with Simone Fitzwilliam.

Whispers UndergroundEdit

A murder in an Underground tunnel shows Peter Grant a side of London he has never seen before.

Broken HomesEdit

What's up with Skygarden Tower?

Foxglove Summer Edit

The search for two missing girls takes Peter all the way out to rural Herefordshire. Assisted by Beverley Brook, he comes into conflict with some of the Fair folk.

The Hanging Tree Edit

After a drug-related death among some wayward youth, Lady Ty asks Peter a favour.

Detective Stories Edit

Peter passes his examination and is made a Detective Constable.

Undocumented events Edit

Krynoid bush Kew

A suspiciously Krynoid-shaped bush in Kew Gardens.

  • An event at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew.[10] Taking place before the summer of 2012.[11]
  • Harold Postmartin once covered Peter in pesticide, and Peter wrestled a tree.[12]
  • "The thing with the police horse which [he] promised never to bring up on pain of ninjutsu"[13]
  • An encounter with a woman while clubbing who may have been the goddess of the River Rom.[6]
  • He once encountered the ghost of female Oxford professor in the tunnels under Kew Gardens.[7]
  • "The thing with the dwarf, the show girl and the fur coat"[8]. Though this may well be the incident described in Peter Grant's blogspot.[14]


Tumblr o54qz5K4S41r6iszmo1 250

In Whispers Underground Peter receives a winding black and silver Omega watch from Thomas Nightingale as a Christmas gift.[15]

Although he only earned a 'C' grade on his Chemistry A-levels, Peter has an excellent understanding of the scientific method.[9] Because of this he is often frustrated by unquantified or poorly defined magical entities and phenomenon. Peter has personally invented or re-discovered multiple modern measures for detective work that also deals with magic. Some of these experiments include:

  • Invention of the Yap scale
  • Experiments determining whether magic damages transistors and vacuum tubes.[13]
  • The approximate distance another practicioner can sense a spell being formed.[13]
  • What materials retain vestigium the longest.[6]
  • How to sacrifice electronics (e.g. cell phones) in place of animals for spells.[9]
  • How to tap into the potential energy of an electronic device for magical purposes.[13]
  • Timing the length of a spell's effect.[8]

Magical Education Edit

Inspector Nightingale has occasionally expressed irritation over Peter Grant's ability to be side-tracked by scientific details and has, at times, admonished him for spending time on experiments rather than working on advancing his magical learning.[6] At other moments, Nightingale has expressed admiration for Peter's quick thinking and creativity in his use of magical forms; in particular, after Peter faces off with the Faceless Man during Moon Over Soho.[13]

Peter is the first officially sanctioned practicioner since 1945, and therefore did not receive the standard pre-WWII training regime that started during primary school. Because of this it is often hard to measure his magical aptitude as a practicioner. In Broken Homes Nightingale admits that he would not have been able to detect specific signare when he was at Peter's level of apprenticeship, but follows this by saying, 'I was only 12 at the time and easily distracted'.[6]

As of Lies Sleeping Peter's abilities include first through third order spells and some fourth order spells such as shields and magnification.

Other Skills Edit

Peter seems to have picked up a broad range of non-magical skills from friends and family. In particular he has a professional knowledge about industrial and residential cleaning, and is familiar with the dust and build-up accompanying this job. This skill originated with his mother, Rose Grant, who works as a cleaner.[9] During Peter's teenage years he often assisted her with cleaning jobs where he developed this skill.[8][16]

He has a solid understanding of the scientific method, electronics, computer systems, and a deeper knowledge of music (especially jazz), architecture, and police procedures.

Languages Edit

During the course of the series his Latin language skills readily improve with his spell work, although he admits his Greek is not particularly good.[16] He speaks English and at least understands Krio (a Creole language in Sierra Leone).[6] He learnt German in school, but only speaks a few words.[9]



Beverley Brook Edit

Peter is currently in a long term relationship with Beverley Brook. Although they were initially attracted to each other, their relationship did not begin until she began assisting Peter in the investigation described in Foxglove Summer. As of Lies Sleeping, they are expecting their first child.[16]

Past Relationships Edit




Peter Grant has been portrayed by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith in the audiobook version of the books, and by Doc Brown (Ben Bailey Smith) at a reading of the short story King of the Rats in 2015.

References Edit

  1. Interview with Aaronovitch
  2. Lies Sleeping, chapter 21 A l'ombre des jeunes rivières en crue
  3. 3.0 3.1 Moon over Soho
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Foxglove Summer
  5. The Furthest Station
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Broken Homes
  7. 7.0 7.1 The Furthest Station
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Whispers Under Ground
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Rivers of London
  10. The Hanging Tree, page 200.
  11. The Home Crowd Advantage
  12. A Rare Book of Cunning Device
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 The Hanging Tree
  15. THAT WATCH [Tumblr post]. (2016, April 4). Retrieved from Photo originally identified by thepudupudu on tumblr.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Lies Sleeping
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