Christina and I have become friends through agency Zoom meetings. I’m excited she agreed to spend time talking sidekicks with us.
There is a truth universally acknowledged, that sidekicks, especially interesting and quirky ones, are a necessary staple of cozy mysteries. A cozy without its sidekicks would be like a hot fudge sundae without the hot fudge. The sidekick(s) give a cozy the pizzazz.
When I was young, in my Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew phase, I was determined to be either a sleuth or a sidekick. On one occasion, I actually set out on my bicycle to solve a mystery, but I got tired halfway to my destination and went to Dairy Queen instead. If only I’d had Trixie by my side to keep me focused.
Let’s review the purpose of a sidekick in a cozy:
- They give the MC (main character) someone she can bounce ideas off.
- Some of these quirky characters help solve the mystery.
- The sidekick provides the MC someone to involve in their hijinks.
- Sidekicks can help add some humor to the story.
- They can provide information or clues.
- A good sidekick can help the MC get into or out of trouble.
- They also provide the opportunity for interesting subplots.
There are several sidekicks I particularly enjoy in the many cozy mystery series I read. But one of my absolute favorites is Lance from Ellie Alexander’s Bakeshop Mystery series. He is the artistic director for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and has such a fun and quirky personality. I adore his sarcastic sense of humor. I can see us going for many a yummy beverage at a local coffee shop while he tells me the inside scoop on the town’s inhabitants. I would definitely want him to be my BFF if I lived in Ashland.
Sidekicks come in all shapes and sizes. Some sleuths don’t have one particular individual that helps them solve the crimes, but instead have a small group of characters that collectively help, or hinder, as the case may be. I love Libby Klein’s Poppy McAllister’s senior sidekicks’ shenanigans. J.C. Eaton also have a fabulous set of senior sidekicks in their Sophie Kimball Mystery series. And finally, Jackie Layton’s got a plethora of fun and interesting side characters in her Low Country Dog Walker Mystery series, including a darn cute German shepherd named Sunny.
If I were to advertise for a sidekick it would sound something like this: Seeking sarcastic, funny, adventure loving sidekick over
thirty (better make that forty, I’m no spring chicken.) Will even consider furry, four-legged canine over two. Quirky, eccentric, and unconventional traits would be considered an asset.
My upcoming debut novel, A Christmas Candy Killing, also happens to have a cast of quirky sidekicks. My favorite of the bunch is a retired pharmacist and hypochondriac named Drew Fletcher. My sleuth even has a twin sister, Hanna, to help her explore her inner Miss Marple 2.0.
Christina, thanks so much for visiting today. It’s been fun!