My favorite sidekick in all the history of mystery is Hamish MacLeod of the Inspector Rutledge series written by the mother-son team, Caroline and Charles Todd.
There are so many things to love about Hamish. The first is that he isn’t a real person; he’s a voice in Rutledge’s PTSD-boggled mind. The real Hamish MacLeod had been a corporal in the British army serving beneath Rutledge and died in the Battle of the Somme. When I read my first Rutledge and figured out Hamish wasn’t real, I was startled, and then impressed, with the originality of Charles Todd. I was intrigued to keep reading. A few years later, I have now read the entire series of eighteen books.
The second thing I love about Hamish is his voice. He sounds just like Sean Connery to me. This would probably make Catriona McPherson laugh out loud since I wouldn’t know a Highland accent from a Glasgow accent and I have no idea what accent Connery speaks with. But it works for me.
Another thing I like about Hamish is that he’s usually telling Rutledge that he is wrong, or pointing out something Rutledge missed. Hamish is usually right. This makes him much more interesting than the typical yes-man or a mere info-dump vessel. My apologies to Dr. Watson and Capt. Hastings.
Which brings me to what is most unique about Hamish: his take on the evidence is frequently the same as mine. I feel like he’s my advocate in the story, working out the mystery on my behalf with Rutledge. This device is what actively engages me in the Todd’s stories more so than any other mystery series I’ve read. Clever, Caroline and Charles. Very clever.
So what is there not to love? Inspector Rutledge, Hamish (Sean Connery) and me driving around bucolic post-WWI England righting wrongs and restoring justice. I just finished reading the 18th book of the series and now only have to wait eleven months, give or take, for the 19th book.
What ever will I do? Hmm….maybe take a hard look at my own sidekick.