“SIDEKICKS” – In Crime Fiction

Jessamy Baldwin Creative Content

Sidekicks have been an essential accompaniment for many literary, cultural or cinematic ‘heroes’ in the past. However, with the rising popularity of crime fiction in the late C19th and early C20th, the sidekick became a recognisable and fundamental element within this genre of literature. Indeed, the loyal sidekick provides the crucial, complimentary foil by which the main protagonist can be compared and contrasted.  Fred Fintstone and Barney Rubble, Batman and Robin and even Shrek and Donkey are just a few of the double acts we encounter in popular culture today. I intend to examine the fascinating relationship between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s infamous “unofficial consulting detective” (Doyle ‘Sign of Four’ 3), Sherlock Holmes and his loyal sidekick Dr.Watson. Doyle strongly maintained that “you must not make the criminal the hero” (qtd. in Lancelyn xlii), yet E.W. Hornung explored this less traveled route in Raffles: The Amateur Detective (1899).

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