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Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel Revised and Expanded Edition, 2nd Edition by Sara Paretsky, Hallie Ephron

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Chapter 6

The Supporting Cast

“Without Goodwin’s badgering, Wolfe would surely starve, collapse under the weight of his own sloth …”

—Loren D. Estleman, from the introduction to the 1992 Bantam paperback edition of Fer-de-Lance by Rex Stout

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle gave Sherlock Holmes a full panoply of supporting characters. There was Dr. Watson, the quintessential sidekick, to provide Holmes with a sounding board; Scottish landlady Mrs. Hudson to cook and clean and fuss over Holmes; Scotland Yard detective Inspector Lestrade to provide a foil for Holmes’s intuitive brilliance, as well as access to official investigations; the Baker Street Irregulars to sneak around where Holmes can’t and ferret out information; and Mycroft Holmes, his politically ...

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