Whodunnit? The search for the murderer is one of the reasons we read crime fiction and the genre has produced some wonderful villains. In reality, however, crimes are not always the result of a single perpetrator and evil pairings can produce a truly vile dynamic.
The phenomena isn’t limited to the thriller genre and below are my top eight evil duos in fiction.
Bill Sikes and Fagin in Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
The brutal Bill Sikes is part of Fagin’s criminal gang. It’s Fagin’s sly denunciation of Nancy’s betrayal that prompts Sikes to murder his girlfriend.
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Macbeth has designs on the crown of Scotland and he is goaded into regicide by his wife. However, it is she who suffers the agony of remorse while Macbeth fights on until the bitter end.
Narcissa and Lucius Malfoy in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows by J K Rowling
Narcissa and Lucius Malfoy’s marriage is portrayed as complex and combative and yet it is as a unit that they both attack and ultimately save Harry Potter.
Cruella De Vil and her unnamed husband in 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith
Another dysfunctional marriage but this time between the glamorous Cruella De Vil and her henpecked husband. It’s his profession as a furrier that provides the inspiration for her kidnap of the Dalmatian puppies to provide her with a unique coat.
Dracula and Renfield in Dracula by Bram Stoker
Renfield, an inmate at a lunatic asylum, is under the influence of Dracula who has offered him immortality by providing an endless supply of insects and rats that Renfield needs to supply his thirst for blood.
Lestat de Lioncourt and Louis de Pointe du Lac in Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice
In a modern day vampire tale, the friendship between Louis and Lestat is marked by sexual frisson and a tortured difference in attitudes towards their prey.
Sweeny Todd and Mrs Lovett in The String of Pearls
A fantastic Victorian penny dreadful where barber Sweeny Todd dispatches his victims in the barber’s chair and his partner in crime, Mrs Lovatt bakes their bodies in meat pies which are sold on the streets of London.
Rosa Klebb and Tov Kronsteen in From Russia with Love by Ian Fleming
Rosa Klebb, a member of Russian intelligence teams up with Colonel Tov Kronsteen, a chess grandmasters who devises a plan to trap James Bond.