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Della (full name unrevealed) was an African-American cook and housekeeper for Hank Steele.

Character Biography[]

Della was intimidated into aiding Steve the Tramp in an ambush he set for Dick Tracy. Not trusting Steve, Della fired the rifle he had given her at him, but missed. Tracy thought she was firing at him and shot back, mortally wounding her. Della was found by Steele and Tracy and taken to her bed, where she was able to explain her actions before she died.

Notes[]

  • Della fits the conventional stereotype of an African-American female domestic servant that was commonplace in popular culture at the time.
  • Years later, Mrs. Gander (the wife a gambling kingpin) had a maid named Della. There is no apparent connection between the two characters.
  • Della is the first of Tracy's "confirmed kills", wherein there is no doubt that Tracy was the one who killed her (his previous "confirmed kills" were fired at by more than one person in addition to Tracy). Though this first fully confirmed kill is of a generally law-abiding citizen, Tracy's actions would almost certainly be ruled justifiable. Della (aiming at Steve) fired a shot at Tracy's general direction, and Tracy - not knowing who the shooter was and thinking they were firing at him - shot back in self-defense.
  • The killing of Della marks the second time within this storyline where Tracy was directly involved in the death of an otherwise law-abiding citizen. Earlier, Tracy and the local Sheriff had inadvertently killed the driver of a truck that had been hijacked by Steve the Tramp.
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