Thomas Nightingale is the wizarding mentor (or Master) and commanding police officer of Peter Grant. He currently holds the rank of a Detective Chief Inspector (DCI). He is also the ranking officer in the magical division of the Metropolitan Police, the Special Operations Unit (SOU).

He is described as 180 cm tall, slim, with finely boned features, grey eyes and brown, short hair. He appears to be in his early forties, but gives his birth year as 1900.[1]

Nightingale is always well dressed in suits or other formal clothing. His most casual outfit has been a polo shirt and jeans. He sometimes carries a silver-topped cane that is also his staff.

Personality Edit

Nightingale is a reserved and serious person, who rarely loses his calm. He appears mostly distant, but is seen to be loyal and protective towards those he likes. He has a dry sense of humour and enjoys watching rugby on television.[2]

Early life Edit

Note: Most of Nightingale's past has yet to be revealed/elaborated on.

He had 2 sisters and 4 brothers. He says that he inherited a stubborn streak from his mother.[3] His Uncle Stanley, a British wizard, was one the reasons why he decided to study magic.[4]

Education Edit

He learned magic at Ambrose House starting at at least age 12, possibly earlier. His teachers and fellow students called him 'The Nightingale' as a nickname and commentary on his high magical abilities.[5]

Before World War IIEdit

He knew the wizard who assisted the police in the search for Jack the Ripper.[6]

In 1938 he was on an operation in Tibet, chasing German archaeologists. Neither he nor the archaeologists found anything of interest.[7]

World War IIEdit

Tumblr nlmg25lOb61tgrkdyo1 1280

Armor from a Tiger I tank pierced by a shell from a 17-pdr gun. Thomas Nightingale destroyed two of them during the same battle.[8]

During World War II Nightingale held the rank of a Captain. He was famous to the point that the Nazi Schutzstaffel (SS) had a price on his head.[4] He also destroyed two Tiger Tanks during that period, the first with three fireballs and the second with a single fireball. He was shot in action during the conflict.[9]

Operation Spatchcock Edit

See Main Article: Ettersberg

Nightingale was against the Folly and British Wizardry obtaining the Black Library.[5] Despite his strong dissent, he was tasked with covering the retreat of British forces from Ettersberg. During this retreat he gave up his seat on the return vehicle to David Mellenby.[5] The raid on Ettersberg occurred on January 19, 1945.[1]

Demobilization Edit

Nightingale took up wood carving as a hobby per the suggestion of the hospital where he was treated for an unspecified injury after Ettersberg. He later used these skills to carve the 2396 names of fallen British wizards on the memorial wall at Ambrose House.[1]


Nightingale aged normally up until August 29, 1966, when he was approximately 66 years old--assuming he and Varvara stopped aging on the same day.[4] Due to an as yet unknown influence he began aging backwards, getting younger at an unspecified rate.

London Society Edit

During this time he was also a member of the Navy and Military Club at St. James Square.[3] Nightingale was unaware of the Faceless Man's criminal activities or club on Brewer Street which were active in full force during the 1970s.[1]

Police Work Edit

Automobile Edit

In 1966 he traded-in his Rover P4 at the suggestion of Hugh Oswald.[3] He subsequently bought and currently drives a classic grey Jaguar Mark 2 with a 3.8 litre XK6 engine.[2]

Present Edit

Nightingale approached Peter Grant after observing his search for the ghost of Nicholas Wallpenny. He initially asked Peter to assist on Folly-related aspects of Operation Turquoise, before taking him on as a sworn apprentice.[9]

Police Work Edit

The Black Library Edit

See Main Article: The Black Library

Peter hypothesizes the main reason for Nightingale staying in his current position as DCI is to ensure the security of the Black Library.

Skills Edit

Newtonian Magic and Spell casting Edit

Nightingale is an extremely skilled practicioner in a combat and non-combative capacity. During the 1960's he was known as the most powerful magician in Europe. He was able to subdue the skilled Varvara Sidorova without injury during a duel, a feat which the Faceless Man called 'impressive'.[4] Hugh Oswald likened his spell casting during the retreat from Ettersberg to Ajax covering the sun' from the Iliad, and has remarked on the singularity of his talent during their school days.[5]

At present, he has shown to be highly skilled in using fireballs as an attack move.[9] He has also used elaborate spells of higher order, up to twenty.[15]

Blacksmithing Edit

Nightingale has demonstrated multiple blacksmithing skills such as pattern welding the core of wizard staffs,[4] forging a magic wrist monitor for Varvara Sidorovna,[5] and constructing the magic-proof cells at Belgravia Station.[11] He may also be able to shoe a horse based on a comment he makes to Lesley during the staff making session.[4]

Modern Technology Edit

Nightingale's skills with 21st century modern technology such as smartphones are limited. It is not known whether he knows how to use a computer. He does own a mobile phone which Peter gifted him for Christmas, and has used it for texting.[4] He seems capable with older technology such as Peter's television,[2] the airwave handset,[1] landline phones, and especially one-way and two-way radios.[4]

Languages Edit

He speaks at least English, Latin, German, Danish and the old language of Father Thames (which is implied to be some form of Pre-Roman Celtic language). He may also read ancient Greek and Arabic[2].

Relationships Edit


Nightingale has a very close relationship with Molly, but the nature of this relationship is unclear. They have cohabited at the Folly since at least 1945 and possibly earlier. Hugh Oswald reminisced on the unique, but at-the-time scandalous, nature of Nightingale's affinity with Molly prior to WWII.[5] Conversely Beverley Brook expressed distaste when Peter suggested an intimate relationship between Molly and Nightingale.[9]

Nightingale has expressed a very strong duty-of-care toward her as evidenced in a 1966 dinner with Hugh Oswald. When asked about leaving the Folly he internally states the following:

"I, of course, could not abandon the Folly without first abandoning Molly...This duty had proved a strong enough thread upon which to hang my sanity..."[3]
which signals a strong emotional reliance between the two. He does not leave Molly alone on holidays,[7] expressed consideration for her cooking schedule while planning Lady Helena's visit,[11] and has brought her flowers[4]. Likewise when Nightingale was shot by Christopher Pinkman Peter observed Molly grieving in the Folly window.[9]

Other informationEdit

  • His suits are tailored by Dege & Skinner in Savile Row.[14]

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Moon over Soho
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Rivers of London
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Moment One, Nightingale: London 1966.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 Broken Homes
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Foxglove Summer
  6. Broken Homes, chapter 1
  7. 7.0 7.1 Whispers Under Ground
  8. Museum-of-artifacts. (2015, March 22). [Web log post]. Retrieved from
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Rivers of London
  10. Broken Homes, chapter 1
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 The Hanging Tree
  12. The Home Crowd Advantage
  13. A Rare Book of Cunning Device
  14. 14.0 14.1 Whispers Under Ground
  15. Lies Sleeping