Friends and Sidekicks

Feb 24, 2021 | 2021 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Kaye George

Details at the end of the post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of Into the Sweet Hereafter by Kaye George, and a link to order it from Amazon.

We mystery writers often give our characters sidekicks. It’s a long tradition from Han Solo’s Chewbacca to Roy Roger’s Pat Brady, from Sherlock’s Watson to Batman’s Robin.

What exactly IS a sidekick? He’s not a partner. The main character is the obvious number one star. The sidekick is…less so. They exist across lots of genres, as seen by the examples that popped up for me right away when I started thinking about them.

They are not antagonists. Those are people who are working against the main character. A sidekick is on his side, obviously. At his side and on his side.

My best answer is that they are helpers. They assist the main character, either by noticing something the main character has overlooked or thinking up solutions that haven’t occurred to the MC. And always supporting the MC, of course.

Why do so many heroes and main characters have sidekicks anyway? Aside from the stuff in the paragraph I just wrote. It’s not random. As a writer, I can use them for my own devices. They could have access to information that the MC couldn’t have access to. That helps my plot along, helps with the solution.

They can also help me convey my information to you, the reader. They do this in conversation a lot. The MC and SK can talk something out and I, the writer, can reveal things to you that would be awkward otherwise. Of course, the MC can puzzle things out in their head and come up with the some information by thinking about it, but I think dialog is more interesting on the page than internal thoughts. I like to use internal thoughts, but don’t want too many of them—I don’t want all of my detective’s thinking revealed to you that way.

What are the qualifications for a sidekick? It has to be someone who would naturally be associating with the sleuth. A friend, coworker, relative, even a pet. It also has to be someone who won’t overshadow the sleuth, won’t take over the story. The SK needs to remain the SK. But, I like that person to be an interesting character, nonetheless, not someone boring or bland. They have to be different from the MC in some sort of interesting way.

Chewbacca is a Wookiee while Han Solo is a regular human. Roy Rogers rides his horse Trigger and Pat Brady drives his jeep Nellybelle. Watson’s occupation as a doctor is very different from Holmes’s as a professional detective. And Robin isn’t even an adult and can’t spin webs like Batman.

Strand magazine Vol iv.1892. Page page 646. illustration The Adventure of the Silver Blaze- “Holmes gave me a sketch of the events” Alex Werner Private Collection.

You know what? Mystery writers kind of have sidekicks, too. I have a regular group of fellow authors I can go to with questions I’m having on characters, plot, and titles; just about anything a sidekick would give me help with. I couldn’t do without my writer friends! They have also helped me through this pandemic with my sanity relatively intact. Thanks for being there, Janet Bolin, Peg Cochran, Krista Davis, Daryl Wood Gerber, Janet Koch, and Marilyn Levinson.

Do you like to encounter interesting sidekicks?
Who are your favorites?
Do you have friends who have helped you get through the pandemic?
I hope so.

To enter to win an ebook copy of Into the Sweet Hereafter, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “hereafter,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 6, 2021. U.S. residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode just went up.

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Kaye George is a national-bestselling, multiple-award-winning author of pre-history, traditional, and cozy mysteries (her latest is the Vintage Sweets series from Lyrical Press). She is a member of Sisters
in Crime, Smoking Guns chapter (Knoxville), Guppies chapter, Authors Guild of TN, Knoxville Writers Group, and Austin Mystery Writers. She lives and works in Knoxville, TN.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. I teethed on sidekicks. George is still my favorite female sidekick of Nancy Drew’s. Bess was far too pretty, fluffy and blonde for me to identify with. And I think that might be another reason for sidekicks: we can see ourselves in them, while identifying with a superhero might be a stretch. If you can’t quite see yourself as Batman, then why not hang along as Robin?

  2. Thanks for having me here today! I love a chance to give a shout out to my writing friends. I also love writing sidekick characters. AND I love people who read them.

  3. Batman can’t spin webs, that’s Spider-Man.

    Sidekicks can really help out a story.

    Count me in the drawing!

    • Good catch! Where were you when I was proofreading this? LOL!

  4. this book looks sweet. books and my sister has helped me thru this pandemic. my favorite sidekick is LuLu from the stephanie plum series

  5. This is a new series to me. Would really like to read.

  6. Interesting read! I feel I have several sidekicks.? My husband, and my twin sister. Thank you for the chance to win the giveaway!!!!

  7. thanks for the chance to win

  8. Interesting read! I’m in a card club and we have started meeting again once a month. Thank goodness!!! Lol!
    Thank you for the giveaway!!!

  9. Looking forward to this new book. I’ve read Revenge is Sweet and Deadly Sweet Tooth. Can’t wait for this one.

  10. I love sidekicks in the books. They either make the main character steer straight or they add to the chaos and make it funnier. I’ve not read this line of books thank you for introducing me to them. I look forward to catching up.

  11. We have a winner!

    • Thanks for doing this, Lorie! I’m contacting the winner right after I post this.


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