Call them partners, call them sidekicks, call them assistants–whatever they are, Crime Fiction is full of them. Where would Sherlock Holmes be today without Dr. Watson? Certainly not in our collective memories, since Watson’s was the (peripheral) narrative voice.
Or Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot without Captain Arthur Hastings? What would Dashiell Hammett’s The Thin Man be like if Nick didn’t have Nora? Even Kinsey Milhone, from Sue Grafton’s Alphabet Series, has her buddy, Henry Pitts.
Even Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling) gives Cormoran Strike Robin Ellacott.
What’s with the sidekick?
As a literary device, a sidekick fills out the protagonist. He or she gives the main character additional depth by providing additional context for the character or revealing the fallibility of our otherwise perfect hero. They can also provide the writer with an opportunity to add comic relief, which, as in the case of some really hard-boiled crime fiction novels, is not a bad thing!
The sidekicks themselves can be actual partners, professional colleagues, spouses (or lovers), or a combination of some or all, as in the case of Elizabeth J. Duncan’s Detective Chief Inspector Gareth Davies, who is both the sidekick and romantic interest of series heroine, Penny Brannigan.
So who is Mike O’Shea’s sidekick in 10-33 Assist PC? Is it Sal Salvatore, his actual partner for the first half of the book, or is it Julia Vendramini?
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Before we go, a quick question:
Who is your favourite sidekick and What do they bring to the story for you? Drop me a line or write a comment below.
Until next week, I’m 10-7 for shift.
Desmond Ryan – Real Detective. Real Crime. Fiction