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5 Series and Books Inspired By Sherlock Holmes

Updated: Feb 19, 2021

Sir Aurthur Conan Doyle is most well-known for his creation of the world's first consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes. More than 125 years have gone by since Sherlock Holmes first appeared in writing, but we continue to be fascinated by the enigmatic detective and the man who invented him.

Whether it be TV series, films, books, or plays, it's clear we continue to be fascinated by Doyle's beloved character. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle changed the landscape of crime fiction forever, and there's a lot in the extended Sherlock Holmes universe to enjoy beyond his wonderful writing. Read on for 5 other ways you can get your Sherlock Holmes fix, once you've read the books, of course!

Elementary is a TV series spanning 6 seasons which offers a unique take on the legend of Sherlock Holmes. In the series, Holmes is a recovering addict who moves to New York City for a new start. It's here that he meets Joan Watson (a clever flipping of the original male character, John Watson), a former surgeon-turned sober companion. Over the coarse of the series you get to see the relationship between the two grow, and Lucy Liu as Joan Watson brings so much depth to her character that you'll find yourself loving Holmes and Watson equally. Elementary even tackles some of Arthur Conan Doyle's most iconic stories, like The Hound of the Baskervilles (renamed Hounded) and The Five Orange Pips (renamed The Five Orange Pipz).

  • Where to find it: Amazon Prime

Have you ever wondered what would happen if Sherlock Holmes lived to be a ripe old age, and retired to the English countryside? Michael Chabon's novel, The Final Solution, gives fans a glimpse into exactly this sort of possible outcome. The Final Solution introduces us to an 89-year-old man who, local villagers claim, used to be a famous detective. You'll find yourself not only intrigued by whether or not this man is the actual Sherlock Holmes, as much as the mystery he sets out to solve when he meets a mute child and his German-speaking parrot. Chabon pens a beautiful homage to one of the world's most beloved detectives, and The Final Solution is an integral part of the Sherlock Holmes extended universe.

  • Where to find it: At your local independent bookseller

You probably are quite familiar with Rainn Wilson due to his role as Dwight Schrute on the beloved series The Office, but did you know he also starred in a detective series that spanned 13 episodes? The lead character in the show Backstrom, Everett Backstrom, is heavily based on the unorthodox, quirky, and at times self-destructive methods of the very same Sherlock Holmes. In the show, Backstrom is an actual detective with the Portland PD who shows a strange talent for solving difficult crimes. If you want a funny, rude, yet brilliant character inspired by Holmes himself, then Backstrom is for you!

  • Where to find it: Amazon Prime

This YA novel by Brittany Cavallaro is another Sherlock Holmes inspired book which follows the descendants of Holmes and Watson as they take on a mystery of their own. In A Study in Charlotte, we're introduced to Charlotte Holmes, the great-great-great-granddaughter of the famed detective. Not only has she inherited Sherlock Holmes temperament, but his brilliant mind as well. When her path crosses with Jamie Watson's (descendant of John Watson), and they are thrown right in the midst of a terrifying murder mystery, the two bond together to solve it in a way that would make their ancestors proud.

  • Where to find it: Your local independent bookseller

No list of Sherlock Holmes inspired movies, shows, or books would be complete without giving mention to Sherlock. This BBC One show is perhaps the most traditional of the ones listed here, and aligns most closely with Arthur Conan Doyle's books and stories, with one exception: it's set in modern London. Each episode is the length of a movie, and the series touches on some of the most beloved aspects of the Sherlock Holmes legend. Irene Adler, Moriarty, Mrs. Hudson, and Lestrade all have recurring appearances, and the series does a brilliant job of lending plenty of dimension to each character. Another great thing about Sherlock? It's re-watchability! This is the sort of show you can rewatch every few years and never grow tired of.

  • Where to find it: Netflix

What are your favorite Sherlock Holmes stories? Which TV series or book would you like to try next?

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