The Hound's TOP TEN Crime Fighting Duos from American Fiction

No. 1 Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin

Obese and agoraphobic, Nero Wolfe is an armchair detective from his Manhattan brownstone. The physical investigating is done by his employee, secretary come bodyguard Archie Goodwin, the witty narrator of the stories.

They first appear (1934)

The Hound's pick

1st Nero Wolfe
Best Nero Wolfe

Criteria: The following twosomes all appear in crime fiction books predominantly set in the USA.

No. 2 Robert Crais’s Elvis Cole and Joe Pike

Elvis Cole is a smart and tough LA PI who performs yoga, tai chi and tae kwon do, and is as likely to reflect as react. His business partner and ‘sociopathic sidekick’, is the machine-like Joe Pike, a former Marine and ex-cop.

They first appear (1987)

The Hound's pick

1st Dalziel and Pascoe novel
best Dalziel and Pascoe book

No. 3 S J Rozan's Lydia Chin and Bill Smith

New York PI Bill Smith is a rumpled, middle-aged cynic who's lives alone above a bar. His younger sometime partner/associate is Lydia Chin, a native New Yorker, Chinatown Chinese, who is full of optimism and energy.

They first appear (1990)

The Hound's pick

1st Morse book
best Morse book

No. 5 James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux and Cletus Purcell

A man of honour and courage, Robicheaux is a Vietnam vet-turned police detective who works out of New Orleans. His best pal is the hot-blooded, tortured, hulking Cletus Purcell, a violent, alcoholic ex-cop and PI/bail-bondsman.

They first appear (1987)

The Hound's pick

1st Robicheaux book
best Wexford book

No. 4 Jeffery Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs

Lincoln Rhyme is a Forensic Consultant with the NYPD. The former Homicide Detective is a quadriplegic so it’s his rookie partner Amelia Sachs that walks the crime scenes under his expert guidance.

They first appear (1997)

The Hound's pick

1st Lincoln Rhyme book
best Lincoln Rhyme book

No. 6 Robert B Parker Spenser and Hawk

Former state cop, soldier, and boxer, Spenser is a ‘professional thug’, using his gut reactions and smart mouth to try and help people. Hawk is a creature of control, an enforcer, often paid to hurt.

They first appear (1976)

The Hound's pick

1st time Hawk appears
best Spenser book

No. 7 Walter Mosley’s 'Easy' Rollins & Raymond 'Mouse' Alexander

Easy Rollins is a flawed, socially conscious fighter for justice. His loyal sidekick and lifelong friend Mouse is violent to the point of being a psychopath. He's unpredictable and will kill a man as soon as look at them.

They first appear in a prequel

The Hound's pick

1st Rollins story
best Rollins/Mouse book

No. 8 A A Fair’s Bertha Cool and Donald Lam

Bertha Cool is the tough middle-aged owner of a detective agency. The overweight widow takes a partner in her business, Donald Lam. He’s a small, nervy, ingenious, disbarred lawyer. Scared and scrawny he’s the opposite to Cool.

They first appear (1938)

The Hound's pick

1st cool and lam story
best Bertha Cool book

No. 9 Dennis Lehane’s Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro

Working out of an old church belfry, long-time friends and occasional lovers Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro are blue-collar PIs familiar with South Boston’s tough working-class neighbourhoods and ghettos.

They first appear (1994)

The Hound's pick

1st Kenzie/Gennaro book
best Kenzie and Gennaro story

No. 10 Chester Himes’ Grave Digger Jones & Coffin Ed Johnson

Harlem cops "Coffin Ed" Johnson and “Grave Digger” Jones are corrupt, vicious NYPD cops. Both use violence and intimidation. Their nicknames are a result of the respect they receive in Harlem.

They first appear (1957)

The Hound's pick

1st Grave Digger Jones story
best Grave Digger Jones story

Also enjoyed and recommended:

 

Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar and Windsor Horne Lockwood III

Tess Gerritsen’s Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles

Andrew Klavan’s Scott Weiss and Jim Bishop

Joe R Lansdale’s Hap Collins and Leonard Pine

Lawrence Block’s Chip Harrison and Leo Haig

Dashiell Hammett's Nick and Nora Charles

David Baldacci's Will Robie and Jessica Reel

Cleve F Adams’s Violet McDade and Nevada Alvarado

Dave Zeltserman’s Julius Katz and Archie Smith

Melodie Johnson's Howe Claire Conrad and Maggie Hill

 

 

If you can think of a glaring omission from my list, please contact me.