Preston-Child Wiki

Dr. Margo Green is an ethnopharmacologist and geneticist. She first appeared in Relic as a graduate student at the New York Museum of Natural History.

Dr. Green is currently employed by the Pearson Institute, a nonprofit medical foundation in New York.


Margo is "shortish" and slender, with glossy, shoulder-length mousy hair and green eyes. As a graduate student, she preferred in jeans and baggy L.L.Bean shirts; in later appearances, she is more often seen in tailored suits and professional attire.


Margo grew up in a suburb of Boston as an only child. Her father, a Columbia graduate and former Vassar College professor, owned his own business. Even as an academic himself, he didn't understand why Margo—who he affectionately called "Midge"—chose to work at a museum "cooped up with all those dead things in jars." Her parents both hoped she would instead return to the Boston area and take over the business. They almost got their wish, as the slow progress of her doctoral dissertation had her strongly considering leaving academia and going to work for her father's company. He died just prior to the events of Relic, and Margo spent a week attending his funeral and dealing with his affairs; the company was facing liquidation unless another family member were willing to take it over.


At the time of her father's death, Margo was a graduate student in ethnopharmacology working on her dissertation at the New York Museum of Natural History under reknowned evolutionary biologist Dr. Whitney Frock. She returned to work the Monday following her father's services, only to find the museum on lockdown after the bodies of two young boys were found in the basement, setting in motion the events of Relic.

As Margo struggled to find time for her dissertation in spite of an active police investigation and the impending opening of a major new museum exhibition, another body was found, and this time Margo and Dr. Frock were brought in to assist with the investigation by NYPD Lieutenant Vincent D'Agosta and Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast of the FBI. When unusual DNA evidence began to point to a legendary creature related to the disastrous Whittlesey Expedition, Margo and Frock took a closer look at the mysterious crates sent back by expedition leader John Whittlesey. The crates had sat untouched for years since their arrival, until being moved to the museum's Secure Storage Area just before the discovery of the first bodies. Just as Margo's research and analysis confirmed that the killer was, in fact, the Mbwun beast depicted by an ancient figurine found in the crates, yet another body was discovered, this time during the heavily attended grand opening event of the new exhibition. The resulting mass panic was exacerbated by a subsequent power outage and security system failure that left the museum sealed off into sections. Margo and Frock searched the basement for Pendergast, who found them at the same time Mbwun did. The agent managed to get a couple shots off: the first bounced harmlessly off the front of the creature's skull, while the second missed but managed to scare it away. A third encounter after a failed attempt at luring the beast into a trap was avoided when Margo remembered it was nocturnal and probably hated light. The fourth and final meeting ended in Mbwun's death as the last of Pendergast's five shots hit home, with Margo realizing at the last possible moment where to shoot it.

As things began to return to normal, Margo ultimately decided to remain at the museum to finish her dissertation in the PhD program, having been offered an Assistant Professorship at Columbia University.


Three months after the events of Relic, Margo—reeling from the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder—obtained a handgun permit with Pendergast's assistance and took up target shooting. She also began exercising tirelessly, running and lifting weights. She began her Assistant Professorship at Columbia, and many of her symptoms began to disappear. After a year at Columbia, she accepted an assistant curatorship at the museum. Unfortunately, her return to the museum was soon followed by the NYPD's discovery of two headless skeletons in the Humboldt Kill, reigniting her fears and kicking off the events of Reliquary.

Margo and her former adviser Whitney Frock became involved in the investigation at the request of Vincent D'Agosta, and she found herself again working alongside D'Agosta, Frock, and eventually Special Agent Pendergast. She was responsible for several breakthroughs in the case, as she pieced together her former colleague Greg Kawakita's experiments with the Mbwun plant and came to the same revelation Kawakita had: the reovirus contained in the plant caused physiological changes to those who ingested it, and the Mbwun creature they had encountered in Relic was in fact long-missing museum anthropologist John (Julian) Whittlesey. She also figured out that Kawakita had begun using the Central Park reservoir to grow the plant, and verified from Kawakita's notes that Thyoxin could be used to kill the plants without making the water unsafe. Finally, as Pendergast and D'Agosta prepared for an incursion directly into the lair of the reovirus-deformed "Wrinklers," she deciphered the last of the cryptic remains of Kawakita's journal: the light-shunning Wrinklers were susceptible to Vitamin D. She mixed three bottles of Vitamin D in solution and rushed to join the others, though they were eventually captured by the Wrinklers and brought to their leader deep within the Astor Tunnels, an abandoned private rail line thirty stories below Central Park. They narrowly escaped, with Margo's vitamin D solution proving to be a pivotal factor. During the last leg of their departure, which involved swimming through the West Side Lateral to the Hudson River, Margo was separated from the group and knocked unconscious underwater; she was apparently sucked into the same sluice that had carried the two headless skeletons. She was found the next morning—alive but with a broken leg—in the Humboldt Kill by Pendergast and D'Agosta.

The Cabinet of Curiosities

At the opening of the New York Museum's Primate Hall, Agent Pendergast informed Bill Smithback that he'd heard from Margo, who was living in Boston and working at a company called GeneDyne.

Dance of Death

Though the money was good, Margo eventually realized that corporate work did not suit her, and she returned to New York to work for the museum yet again, this time as the editor-in-chief of museum's historic journal Museology. She initially developed a small rivalry with museum anthropologist Nora Kelly, which eventually turned into a close friendship.

On the eve of her first Museology publication, Margo was attacked by Diogenes Pendergast while leaving the museum. Though she managed to wound him with a box cutter, he broke her wrist and stabbed her in the small of the back, leaving the ivory-handled knife embedded. She was found an hour later by systems technician Larry Enderby, who immediately contacted security and attempted to resuscitate her. She was transported to the hospital, where due to a "regrettable bureaucratic mix-up," she was declared dead, when in actuality, to protect her from Diogenes, she had been secretly medevaced to the Feversham Clinic in upstate New York under the name Theresa, where she began her recovery.

The Book of the Dead

Margo continued her convalescence as the events of The Book of the Dead unfolded, settling into a routine at the Feversham Clinic. Her only visitors were her mother Doris and an visit/interview from Laura Hayward, who was investigating a series of murders of former Pendergast associates attributed to Diogenes (which she had wrongly tried to pin on Aloysius).

She was pleasantly surprised to receive a visit from her boss at the museum, Hugo Menzies. The visit took an unexpected turn when Menzies—actually Diogenes in a long-curated deep-cover false identity—began introducing phrases and mannerisms from the night she was attacked, before finally putting her into a drug-induced coma. He continued to administer the drug under the guise of repeated visits, but his planned final visit, where he had intended to give her a lethal dose, was abandoned when Constance Greene ambushed him on a train en route to the clinic.

Blue Labyrinth

Following her recovery from her encounter with Diogenes Pendergast, Margo began working for a nonprofit medical foundation called the Pearson Institute as an ethnopharmacologist, evaluating indigenous botanical remedies for their drug potential. Though her research made her a regular visitor to the museum, which was home to an extensive ethnobotanical collection vital to her work, her experiences there made her very uneasy and prone to panic attacks whenever she was on the grounds.

Eventually, Margo's renewed presence at the museum led Lt. Vincent D'Agosta to enlist her help in an investigation into the murder of a museum employee, Vic Marsala, who happened to be one-time colleague of hers in the museum's Anthropology Department. D'Agosta persuaded Margo to take a look at a skeleton from the museum's anthropology collection that Marsala had examined just prior to his death, explaining that Marsala had been working with a visiting scientist who turned out to have fake credentials.

Upon examination of the skeleton, Dr. Green quickly determined that the bones did not match the description in the museum's records. Rather than a 35-year-old Hottentot male, the skeleton was identified as the long-missing wife of the former osteological curator who originally catalogued the bones in the late 19th century.

When Pendergast was poisoned with a concentrated dose of his great-great-grandfather Hezekiah's compound elixir, Margo and Constance Greene worked frantically to research and prepare an antidote as the agent lay dying. Using Hezekiah's notes on his own attempts at an antidote—which explicitly stated that it did not work—Margo concocted a zero-hour antidote quite literally in the ambulance rushing Pendergast to the hospital, and administered it blindly guessing at the dosage while Constance kept the hospital staff from calling security at gunpoint.


  • In the film adaptation of Relic, Margo Green is portrayed by actress Penelope Ann Miller. This movie portrayal is more action-oriented than Margo's portrayal in the book, but Miller's performance retains Margo's pluckiness.
  • The film, which features Margo as the primary protagonist, also moved the setting of the story to Chicago. A year after the publication of Blue Labyrinth, which finds Margo working for the fictional Pearson Institute in New York, a real Pearson Institute was founded—in Chicago.