Judy Newman
Judy Newman asked:

Why does Strike have to get a new phone number to avoid Charlotte? Why can't he just block her?

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Tat If he just blocked her, she could just call from another number. Which she has done - her calls and texts were from the unknown number. She even tells him that his is the only number she knows by heart. If he changes his number, she will have no means of contacting him directly. Perhaps she could go through the agency's phone, but it wouldn't be his personal contact and that's now what she wants.
Jennifer At the end of the book he tells her he'll change his number. There's also an explanation to why he hasn't done it thus far: "he’d done a lot of thinking since her [...]. Having always told himself that he’d never changed his number because too many contacts had it, he’d lately admitted to himself that he’d wanted to keep a channel of communication open between himself and Charlotte, because he wanted to know she couldn’t forget him, any more than he could forget her."
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