Tag Archive for: #detective sidekicks

Parrott and Tonya Sitting in a Tree by Saralyn Richard



Literary detectives rarely work alone. Sherlock had Watson. Nero Wolfe had Archie Goodwin. Poirot had Captain Hastings. Then there are Nick and Nora Charles, Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs, and Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane.

Authors make good use of the sidekicks throughout the series. The sidekick provides a sounding board for the detective, someone to help with collecting evidence and processing clues. Sometimes the sidekick offers an insight that might turn out to be a red herring—or not. The dialogue and interaction between the detective and his sidekick add interest and humanity to the story.

The Detective Parrott mystery series features Detective Oliver Parrott, a young, smart, organized person who’s well-grounded and dedicated to finding the truth. An outsider in the wealthy community he serves, he has a sixth sense about sniffing through subterfuge and barriers, and he’s undaunted by rich and powerful people. He just wants to do the right thing and make way for justice to be served.

That’s a big job for one guy to do, and the work can become frustrating and lonely. That’s why Parrott has a sidekick—his lovely fiancée (and then wife) Tonya.  College sweethearts, Parrott and Tonya have similar backgrounds. Both come from single parent homes in underprivileged neighborhoods. They had scholarships to Syracuse, where Parrott was a football star. Tonya majored in political science, while Parrott majored in criminal justice.

When the series opens in MURDER IN THE ONE PERCENT, Tonya is on a tour of duty in Afghanistan with the Navy. Parrott visits with her on Skype, and, while she can’t tell him much about her work, and he can’t tell her much about his, they both provide significant encouragement and support for each other.

By the time of the second book, A PALETTE FOR LOVE AND MURDER, the Parrotts are married and living in Parrott’s small house with their pet cockatiel, Horace. They have a loving marriage, but from the start, their lives are complicated by Tonya’s PTSD. Without spoiling the plot of this and subsequent books, I’ll say that Tonya’s story becomes inextricably entwined with Parrott’s investigation, and from then on, the Parrotts’ personal lives and the detective’s professional life cross paths.

The pattern continues in CRYSTAL BLUE MURDER and MURDER OUTSIDE THE BOX. At times the elements of humor and romance tip the plots into scenes unusual for a police procedural. Readers and reviewers apparently enjoy the dynamics between the two characters, and I’ve been present at many book clubs where people remark about it. One reader stopped me at the theater to plead with me never to let Parrott and Tonya divorce.

I doubt that will ever happen, although the Parrotts have to go through rough times, just like the rest of us. Right now, Parrott and his lovely wife are getting ready for the holiday celebration in their home, and they’ve asked me to wish each and every one of you the best of the season, and a happy new year. Let me echo those chirpy good wishes. May you have good health, friendship, love, peace, and happy reading!


MURDER OUTSIDE THE BOX will be available January 5. For other books, check out Saralyn Richard’s website here or Amazon page here.