You're a Good Man, Sister
Great Gals-Secretarial Division
"You're a damned good man, sister"
- Sam Spade to Effie Perine in The Maltese Falcon
She manned the offices of Spade and Archer, lighting Sam's smokes, and maybe a whole lot more. The "prototype of all private eyes' secretaries," according to Bill Pronzini.
Perry Mason's better half, in the office, and possibly elsewhere. Perry proposed about a half-dozen times, but Della always turned him down. Seems Perry wouldn't want a working wife, and, well, dammit, Della wouldn't want to miss out on the action...
When his young wife, Phyllis Brighton, was killed, Mike Shayne got himself a secretary, and started a long, long relationship. I guess Mike learned his lesson, though -- somehow Lucy and he never quite got married.
Served as Jim Bennett's sounding board, professionally and personally, at times. Ignoring the example set by Mike Shayne, Jim and Sandy eventually got married, and presumably lived happily ever after.
Mike Hammer's beloved Velda, the only woman he could ever love. Her disappearance in the middle of a case prompted Mike's disappearance into a bottle, and when she returned years later, she was almost as hard as Hammer himself...
Before anyone had ever heard of 77 Sunset Strip, Los Angeles private dick Stuart Bailey had a spunky, wise-cracking, motor mouth Gal Friday, who went by the name of Bix, in the 1945 film I Love Trouble, based on Roy Huggins' 1946 novel, The Double Take.
One of the most memorable of the secretaries on the tube was Richard Diamond's Sam, played by Mary Tyler Moore (before she could turn the world on with her smile, she had to make do with the only part of her body ever shown-she had legs, and she sure knew how to use them...)
Elderly, crotchety, nagging, half-mother hen, half-secretary, she watched over private richard Pete Chambers, and couldn't help but worry about him...
Secretary at the Morgan & Company Detective Agency. She often aided and abetted, and eventually married reporter and sometime private eye Robin Bishop.
The widow of a slain police officer and mother of a young son, Peggy had to get a job. She went to work for rough and tough TV private eye Joe Mannix, and the boob tube was never the same. Not only was Peggy no ditz, but, even more importantly, she was black. In fact, more than one wag has suggested that when the cameras weren't rolling, Joe and Peggy were going at it hot and heavy, but the network just didn't have the guts to show an inter-racial affair.
Arguably the last great secretary, Peggy served John Marshall Tanner faithfully and loyally for five novels until their mutual attraction and a particularly nasty case with some sexual overtones drove a rather large wedge into their relationship.
The sharp, idealistic young temp dispatched to handle Cormoran Strike's secretarial needs was a cool, retro breeze blowing across the genre, rooting the first PI. effort of Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling) firmly in tradition, but giving Robin enough modern girl smarts to raise it several notches above a mere reheated trope.
List respectfully compiled by Kevin Burton Smith. Additions welcome.
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