When she reviewed Irene Deep in Texas Trouble, Kathleen Costa wrote, “Ok, I love Irene! I love the dynamic between the two women although it seems difficult to define. Are they friends? Colleagues? A Sherlock and Watson duo?” Costa’s review raised some questions I, as author, hadn’t thought about, though I sometimes struggled with the relationship between the two women.
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.
In the world of mysteries, the sidekick may serve any number of roles. From Dr. Watson narrating the Sherlock Holmes stories to Robert B. Parker’s Hawk doing dirty work in the Spenser series, sidekicks come in all forms, shapes, and sizes. Everyone has their favorite and numerous polls have tried to determine who readers consider the best crime-fiction sidekick.
Fictional sleuths must have their sidekicks, whether it’s a best friend or boyfriend, a mother in law or pet. Sherlock Holmes has Dr. Watson, Stephanie Plum has her hamster, Rex, even Miss Marple has her knitting.