The evolution of detective's sidekicks from John Watson to Robin Ellacott (Cormoran Strike novels).

Provide the typology of famous detective’s sidekicks and analyse the way they have changed over the years. What makes a likable sidekick in modern detective literature. Is the fact that Robin Ellacott is a woman dictated by the feminist trend, by the plot or by any other factors? Does the detailed characterisation of the sidekick make for a better novel? What kind of detective – sidekick tandem would you like to read about in future?

  • Cool topic. I took a seminar in Detective Fiction last year within which a popular speculative theory was brought to our attention that many people believe there is evidence to suggest that Watson could have been female...or at least that Watson's gender was left ambiguous. This would be something interesting to look into if you were to discuss detective sidekicks and gender. -hillary – hilldextrase 8 years ago
  • Building off of Hillary's point, there's an interesting intersection between John Watson and recent feminist trends which has come in the form of "Joan Watson" (as played by Lucy Liu) in the American tv series Elementary. Although the show is vastly inferior to its BBC counterpart, one could argue that re-casting Watson as a female is quite the progressive move - which is consequently negated by her frequent involvement in oversexualised slap fights with equally attractive female villains and henchwomen. When Conan Doyle first invented the character in 1887, he was a doctor and a war vet, both of which being indicators in that day and age that the character most likely needed to be male; however, this recent update has proven that, in 2012 and onward, there is no valid reason why the same character cannot be female and still prove to be just as proficient a detective as Holmes. – ProtoCanon 8 years ago
  • Good topic. Is it possible, though, that the writer might find that sidekicks have not changed in a significant way, or that they have changed but the changes are superficial? – Tigey 8 years ago
  • Interesting topic--I found both Robin and John to be very similar at first glance (Robin's definitely a little more on top of it than Watson). In the early detective fiction, many of the sidekicks were meant as a frame for the reader to be put in (think Edgar Allen Poe's stories). – ckmwriter 8 years ago

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