TV Detectives and Books

TV Detectives and Books

TV Detectives and Books

Some of the best detectives that are on TV today were created by authors, and many enjoyed long-running series, that were then adapted into different stories for television. Because of the quality of these characters, and paired with our fascination with crime, TV detective shows have become increasingly popular.


Scottish Crime Writers or Scotland-based Detectives

Especially popular is a sub-genre of the crime detective genre, Tartan Noir. This covers Scottish crime writers, as well as crime stories set in Scotland. One of those writers is Ian Rankin, who created Rebus, a Detective Inspector who solves cases on the streets of Edinburgh.

The TV adaptation of the character ran from 2000 to 2004, with four very successful series over that period of time. John Rebus is a very real character, which may be why the books made Rankin a household name. He smokes, drinks, doesn’t like to pay by the rules, and he has a very troubled personal life – all which make him very relatable.

This maverick figure, the outsider and anti-hero, has always been enjoyed throughout literary and TV history. Even in the late 19th century, Arthur Conan Doyle used this literary method and character type in his books for Sherlock Holmes. Even today, Holmes is a celebrated character and many modern TV and film adaptations have been made of him.

Another TV detective series set in Scotland is by Ann Cleeves, who created the Shetland series, which are of course set on the Shetland Isles. DI Jimmy Perez is the lead investigator for solving a series of murders on the isolated archipelago of islands. The first series of the show was a two-part adaptation of Cleeves’ Red Bones book of the Shetland series.

Under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith, renowned Scottish writer J. K. Rowling created Strike, a private detective who operates in London solving murders with his assistant. He was created in 2013 to widespread critical acclaim, and thus translated into a popular TV series in summer of 2017.


Other TV Detectives and Crime Writers

There are many other literary crime detectives which operate outside of Scotland, or that have been created by a writer of another nationality. For example, Ann Cleeves also created Vera, a series of novels that detailed the challenges faced by DCI Vera Stanhope and her assistant as they solve a set of murders in Northumberland.

She has been turned into a fantastic TV series that has won critical acclaim and plenty of loyal fans, meaning that it has enjoyed a whole eight series, and counting during its time on our screens. The new series is set to air at some point in 2019.

Henning Mankell created Wallander, which involves a Swedish detective named Kurt Wallander investigating murders in the south of Sweden. The British adaptation of the novels starred Kenneth Brannagh as Wallander, and Mankell himself has been involved in the screenwriting of the TV adaptation.

Immensely popular both here in the UK and in the US, Kathy Reichs’ books have turned her into a household name of the crime genre. In many of her books, she portrays the protagonist Dr Brennan, a forensic anthropologist who is partnered with Special Agent Seeley Booth in order to solve crimes.

The books were adapted into a US television series named Bones which has also garnered lots of attention from both fans of the book and crime aficionados. These books and TV series just show how universal our fascination with solving crime is.

Whether the series is set in Scotland or not, there is a variety of different crime shows that have been adapted from equally as popular books, and have presented detective characters that are complex and interesting for the general public

On our site, you can find many of these crime authors and book series, as well as books from Scottish crime writer Val McDermid, and Peter James. If you enjoy a TV detective series such as the one we’ve outlined above, why not read further into the source material that we have on our site?