Sidekicks – the guys (and gals) that make our heroes look so good. I’ve been looking forward to this column. Some of these sidekicks really make the book a lot more enjoyable.
Archie Goodwin –There are lots of reasons to enjoy Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe mysteries and Archie is one of them. Stout’s creations are a great blend of the best in British and American mysteries. Wolfe is the brainy, logical one (think Holmes) and Archie is the all-American tough guy (think Spade). Archie’s a “sweetie” in my book; my #1 favorite sidekick.
Jeremy Proctor – There are three juveniles on this list. Jeremy is the 13-year-old orphan who becomes the eyes and ears for Bruce Alexander’s Sir John Fielding, who founded the first London Police Force.
Joyce McQuinnie – This 18-year-old Australian teenager is the assistant to Nury Vittachi’s C. F. Wong, the feng shui master in Singapore. There is not only a big age gap, but there is also a cultural gap and a language gap. In spite of the fact that they both speak “English” they don’t really understand each other (after all, one speaks very adult, proper Asian English and the other a teenage form of “Aussie English”.) Does it work? Emphatically yes. All the books are a delight.
Dogger – In a bit of a turn-around, Dogger is the sidekick for 11-year-old Flavia de Luce in the “first novel” runaway hit of 2010 by Alan Bradley, Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Dogger is the de Luce’s gardener and Flavia’s confidant and mentor in lock-picking.
Peabody – Initially a patrol cop, Peabody develops into the partner of J. D. Robb’s policewoman Eve Dallas. The development of Peabody’s character over the course of the series is fun to watch. And we must mention Summerset. Every mystery at some point needs a butler, right?
Milo Sturgis – Milo is the friend (dare I say, long–suffering?) of Jonathan Kellerman’s Dr. Alex Delaware. Milo is an overweight, badly dressed (“crumpled” might be a good word) LA policeman with a big heart. He knows how to close a case.
Joe Pike – Lean, lanky and lethal, Joe is the partner and buddy of Robert Crais’ detective Elvis Cole. Remember the superhero pair called the “dynamic duo”? Well move over, guys, because Elvis and Joe are in town (in LA, actually).
Sgt. Barbara Havers – It is difficult to conceive of Elizabeth George’s policeman, Thomas Lynley without his stubborn opinionated partner. They are such opposites that their combination makes the novels almost perfect.
Estelle Reyes – Steven Havill has brought together two wonderful characters, Bill Gastner and Estelle Reyes. Gastner is a tough but aging sheriff, Estelle is young and smart. They deeply respect the abilities of the other and a caring relationship exists between them. It’s a series that is a pleasure to read.
And two classic sidekicks, Watson and Captain Hastings – Where would Holmes and Poirot be without their trusty companions?