Books that Inspired PBS Masterpiece


Have you enjoyed the programming on PBS’s Masterpiece? If so, have you thought about reading the books many of those shows are based on?  If the answer is yes to both questions, this recommended reading list is for you!  From the old classics like Bleak House to modern blockbusters like Downton Abbey and Poldark, discover the books on which these series are based.   


To order any of these titles, contact the library by email, mail or phone. You may also request these titles online through WolfPAC. All digital and braille books listed are linked to Braille and Audio Reading Download site (BARD) for downloading. Happy Reading!

If you enjoyed Bleak House, consider reading the novel that inspired the series:


Bleak House by Charles Dickens

DB 43614

Read by George Holmes.  Reading Time: 40 hours, 34 minutes.

BR 11645; 9 volumes of braille. Volume 1Volume 2Volume 3Volume 4Volume 5Volume 6Volume 7Volume 8Volume 9.

Satire of the English judicial system and aristocratic class of Dickens’s time. Follows the fortunes of young Esther Summerson and her mother, Lady Dedlock, as the disposition of the Jarndyce estate drags on year after year.


If you enjoyed Call the Midwife, consider reading the memoirs that inspired the series:


Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth

DB 76915

Read by Gabriella Cavallero. Reading time: 12 hours, 28 minutes.

Autobiography of woman who trained as a nurse/midwife and served in London’s impoverished East End during the 1950s. Describes her sheltered background, life in an Anglican convent, and long hours among poverty-stricken patients. Basis for the PBS series. 2002.


Continue the series with:

Book 2: Shadows of the Workhouse (DB 86108)

Book 3: Farewell to the East End (DB 86063)


If you enjoyed Downton Abbey, consider reading the biographies that inspired the series:


Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by Fiona Carnarvon

DB 75167

Read by Kristin Allison. Reading time: 7 hours, 58 minutes.

Lady Fiona, the Countess of Carnarvon, chronicles the era that inspired the British television series Downton Abbey. She details the life of Almina--illegitimate daughter of Sir Alfred de Rothschild--who married the fifth earl of Carnarvon in 1895 and enjoyed upper-class privileges until World War I. Some violence. Bestseller. 2011.


Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid’s Memoir that Inspired Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey by Margaret Powell


Read by Cathy Gloeckner. Reading time: 5 hours, 50 minutes.

Brilliantly evoking the long-vanished world of masters and servants portrayed in "Downton Abbey" and "Upstairs, Downstairs," Powell’s classic memoir of her time in service is the remarkable true story of an indomitable woman who, though she served in the great houses of England, never stopped aiming high.



If you enjoyed The Durrells in Corfu, consider reading the memoirs that inspired the series:


My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

DB 48465

Read by David Cutler. Reading time: 9 hours, 59 minutes.


A naturalist recounts his adventures and those of his British family during the five years they lived on the island of Corfu. Age ten on arrival, Durrell enjoyed collecting insects and wildlife. He recalls his parents’ and siblings’ reactions to his escapades, and his to theirs. Some strong language. 



Fauna and Family: More Durrell Family Adventures on Corfu by Gerald Durrell

 DB 48465

Read by Jon Pinnow. Reading time: 7 hours.

Naturalist writes about his adventures with friends--human and animal--and his family, including his novelist brother Lawrence Durrell, on the enchanting island of Corfu before World War II. Durrell evokes the rapture of a small boy discovering the world around him. 1978.


If you enjoyed Father Brown, consider reading the short story collection that inspired the series:


Father Brown Mystery Stories by G.K. Chesterton

DB 17062

Read by Ray Landers. Reading time: 6 hours, 13 minutes.

The detective-priest solves crimes and deftly unravels other mysteries in this collection of short stories.


If you enjoyed The Forsyte Saga, consider reading the stories that inspired the series:


The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy

DB 21183

Read by Norman Barrs. Reading time: 35 hours, 53 minutes.

Portrait of a family in a bygone age beginning with the Victorian era. The saga chronicles the lives of the monied, upper-class Forsytes, whose sense of what is valuable in this world is ever warring with their passions. Some of the engaging characters include Fleur, her father, Soames, and her husband, Michael Mont. Includes "The Man of Property," "Indian Summer of a Forsyte," "In Chancery," "Awakening," and "To Let."


If you enjoyed The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders, consider reading the novel that inspired the series:


Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe

DB 51146

Read by Barbara Caruso.  Reading Time: 12 hours, 36 minutes.

BR 03367; web-braille not available.

LP 00837; 483 pages.

Moral tale set in seventeenth-century England and Virginia, recounts the crimes and misfortunes of a lusty and strong-willed woman. Among Moll’s five marriages was one, unwitting, to her own brother. After years as a thief and a prostitute, she attains great wealth, and spends her old age comfortably repenting her youthful excesses. 1722.


If you enjoyed Grantchester, consider reading the novels that inspired the series:


Grantchester Mysteries, Books 1-3 by James Runcie

DB 81328

Read by Gary Tipton. Reading time: 29 hours, 36 minutes.

Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death, Sidney Chambers and the Perils of the Night, and Sidney Chambers and The Problems of Evil are the first three series entries, written between 2012 and 2014. Chambers is the young vicar of Grantchester and an amateur sleuth in mid-twentieth-century Cambridgeshire, England. PBS tie-in. 2014


Continue the series with Grantchester Mysteries, books 4-5 (DB 85171).


If you enjoyed Hercule Poirot, consider reading the novels that inspired the series:


The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

DB 51162

Read by Tom Martin. Reading time: 6 hours, 59 minutes.

BR 13337; 2 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. 

In Hercule Poirot's first case the retired Belgian police detective investigates the death of Emily Cavendish, an elderly heiress, who, to the distress of her stepchildren, had recently married a fortune hunter. 1920.


Other series favorites:

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (DB 10641)

Murder on the Orient Express (DB 39507; BR 02922; 2 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2.; LP 0906; LP 2441)


To continue the series, please contact your reader advisor and ask for a series preference on Hercule Poirot. There are too many titles to list!


If you enjoyed Home Fires, consider reading the history that inspired the series:


Home Fires: The Story of the Women’s Institute in the Second World War by Julie Summers

DB 82601

Read by Juliet Mills. Reading time: 12 hours, 22 minutes.

A history of the Women’s Institute during World War II. Present in a third of Britain’s villages, this organization ran canteens, knitted garments for troops, collected herbs for medicines, made jam, and advised the government on a wide variety of issues. Commercial audiobook. 2015.


If you enjoyed I, Claudius, consider reading the novel that inspired the series:


I, Claudius by Robert Graves

DB 12463

Read by Gordon Gould. Reading time: 18 hours, 3 minutes.

BR 18530; 4 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3. Volume 4. 

Realistic story purports to be the lost autobiography of the emperor Claudius, who lived from 10 B.C. to 54 A.D. It vividly depicts the political conspiracies, superstitions, orgies, and incest within imperial Rome. Violence.


If you enjoyed Inspector Morse, Inspector Lewis, and Endeavour, consider reading the novels that inspired these three series:


Inspector Morse, Books 1-2 by Colin Dexter

DB 90973

Read by John Jessup. Reading time: 18 hours, 46 minutes.

The first two mysteries, written in 1975 and 1976, in the series featuring Detective Chief Inspector Morse of Oxford. In Last Bus to Woodstock, a young female hitchhiker’s body is found outside a pub. In Last Seen Wearing, a missing teen writes her parents a letter. Television tie-in. 1976. 

Continue the series with:

Book 6: Riddle of the Third Man (DB 21155)

Book 7: Secret of Annexe 3 (DB 27230)

Book 8: The Wench is Dead (DB 31378)

Book 9: The Jewel that was Ours (DB 35728)

Book 10: The Way through the Woods (DB 36892; BR 09289; 3 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3. )

Book 12: The Daughters of Cain (DB 43356)

Book 13: Death is Now My Neighbor (DB 48888)

Book 14: The Remorseful Day (DB 51164)


If you enjoyed Jeeves and Wooster, consider reading the novels that inspired the series:

P.G. Wodehouse: Five Complete Novels by P.G. Wodehouse

DB 65172

Read by Fred Major. Reading time: 30 hours, 43 minutes.

British humorist pens five stories with servants as central characters. In The Return of Jeeves and Bertie Wooster Sees It Through, the butler Jeeves advises young Bill Towcester on love and gambling. 1983.


Continue the series by reading:

Enter Jeeves: 15 Early Stories (DB 62423)

Right Ho, Jeeves (DB 11774)

Code of the Woosters (DB 45262; BR 01077; web-braille not available.)

Ring for Jeeves (DB 14215)

How Right You Are, Jeeves (DB 26921)

Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves (DB 52588)

Jeeves and the Tie that Binds (DB 21498)

Cat-Nappers: A Jeeves and Bertie Story (DB 55373; BR 03044; web-braille not available.)

Carry on, Jeeves (DB 69717; BR 09533; 2 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2.)

Bertie Wooster Sees Through It (DB 28992)

Very Good, Jeeves! (DB 44515)

Inimitable Jeeves (DB 44504)

Return of Jeeves (DB 31470)



If you enjoyed Jewel in the Crown, consider reading the novels that inspired the series:


Jewel in the Crown by Paul Scott

DB 43535

Read by Norman Barrs. Reading time: 22 hours, 17 minutes.

The rape of a young Englishwoman in India in 1942 provides the pivotal incident for an intricate portrait of a land in the grips of violent upheaval. Some violence.


       Continue the series with:

       Book 2: The Day of the Scorpion (DB 45151)

       Book 3: The Towers of Silence (DB 32516)

       Book 4: A Divisions of the Spoils (DB 42083)


If you enjoyed Little Women, consider reading the novel that inspired the series:


Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

DB 58830

Read by Fred Major. Reading time: 21 hours, 35 minutes.

BR 09758; 4 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3. Volume 4. 

LP 1388; 1118 pages.

Recounts the lives of the four March sisters--quick-tempered Jo, who is restless for freedom; Beth, who loves her home and family; Meg who longs for pretty clothes; and self-absorbed Amy. Includes 1989 introduction by Elaine Showalter. For grades 6-9 and older readers. 1868.


Continue the March family saga with:

Book 2: Little Men (DB 23646; BR 12486; 3 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3.)

Book 3: Jo's Boys (DB 25382; BR 16184; 3 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3.)


If you enjoyed The Miniaturist, consider reading the novel that inspired the series:


The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

DB 82051

Read by Kimberly Schraf. Reading time: 14 hours, 5 minutes.

Amsterdam, 1686. Nella Oortman arrives from the country, a new bride. Her husband, Johannes Brandt, is aloof, but he gives her a present of a miniature replica of their home. As Nella populates it, she realizes the figurines reveal secrets. Some violence and some descriptions of sex. 2014.



If you enjoyed Miss Marple, consider reading the novels that inspired the series:


Five Complete Miss Marple Novels by Agatha Christie

DB 56994

Read by Patricia Kilgarriff. Reading time: 34 hours, 31 minutes.

Five classic mysteries featuring Miss Marple, including: The Mirror Crack'd, A Caribbean Mystery, Nemesis, What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw! (published in England as 4:50 from Paddington), and The Body in the Library. 1980.



A Caribbean Mystery (BR 04312; web-braille not available.)

Nemesis (BR 01884; web-braille not available.)

4:50 from Paddington (BR 13283; 2 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2.)

The Body in the Library (BR 03867; 1 volumes of braille. Volume 1.)


Other Books in the series:

13 Clues for Miss Marple (DB 62025)

At Bertram's Hotel (DB 39524; BR 00339; web-braille not available.)

The Moving Finger (DB 12151)

Murder with Mirrors (DB 12612)

Sleeping Murder (DB 39383; BR 03320; web-braille not available.)

The Thirteen Problems (BR 14099; 2 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2.)

Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories (DB 61697)


If you enjoyed Poldark, consider reading the novels that inspired the two different Masterpieces series, one in the 1970s and one in the 2010s:


Ross Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall by Winston Graham

DB 54181

Read by Graeme Malcolm. Reading time: 10 hours, 34 minutes.

BR 03521; web-braille not available.

Captain Ross Poldark returns to Cornwall from the lost war in the American colonies to find his father dead and his small estate in ruins. Worse, his wealthy cousin Francis is betrothed to the girl he had intended to marry. 1951.


Continue the series with:

Book 2: Demelza: A Novel of Cornwall (DB 54182; BR 03518; web-braille not available.)

Book 3: Jeremy Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall (DB 54183; BR 03519; web-braille not available.)

Book 4: Warleggan: A Novel of Cornwall (DB 54184; BR 03520; web-braille not available.)

Book 5: Black Moon: A Novel of Cornwall (DB 54185; BR 03522; web-braille not available.)

Book 6: Four Swans: A Novel of Cornwall (DB 54186; BR03525; web-braille not available.)

Book 7: Angry Tide: A Novel of Cornwall (DB 54187; BR 04301; 5 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3. Volume 4. Volume 5.)

Book 8: Stranger from the Sea: A Novel of Cornwall (DB 40684; BR 05108; web-braille not available.)

Book 9: Miller’s Dance: A Novel of Cornwall (DB 41904; BR 05474; web-braille not available.)

Book 10: Loving Cup: A Novel of Cornwall (DB 40687; BR 06830; web-braille not available.)

Book 11: Twisted Sword: A Novel of Cornwall (DB 33329; BR 08679; 4 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3. Volume 4.)

Book 12: Bella Polldark: A Novel of Cornwall (DB 55817; BR 14659; 5 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3. Volume 4. Volume 5.)


If you enjoyed Sherlock, consider reading the novels that inspired the series:


A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

DB 71855

Read by Alexander Scourby. Reading time: 3 hours, 56 minutes.

London. 1880s. The brilliant sleuth Sherlock Holmes and his companion, Dr. Watson, confront a pair of gruesome murders in a case that is rooted in Mormon Utah thirty years earlier. Classic novel introducing the Holmes character.


Continue the series with:

Book 2: The Sign of Four (DB 22766; BR 04611; web-braille not available.)

Book 3: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (DB 17437; BR 10562; 4 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3. Volume 4.)

Book 4: The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (DB 11397; BR 10563; 4 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3. Volume 4.)

Book 5: The Hound of Baskervilles (DB 14165; BR 10565; 2 volume of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2.)

Book 6: The Return of Sherlock Holmes (DB 43002; BR 10568; 4 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3. Volume 4.)

Book 7: The Valley of Fear (DB 13289; BR 10660; 3 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3.)

Book 8: His Last Bow (DB 11141; BR 10567; 3 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3.)

Book 9: The Case-book of Sherlock Holmes (DB 43538; BR 10559; 3 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3.)


If you enjoyed Upstairs, Downstairs, consider reading the novels based on the series:


Upstairs, Downstairs by John Hawkesworth

DB 64119

Read by Anne Hancock. Reading time: 7 hours, 34 minutes.

Based on the popular television series, this novel follows the intertwined lives and loves of the upper-class Bellamy family and their loyal servants in Edwardian London as Europe teeters on the brink of World War I. 1971.


       Continue the series with:

       Upstairs, Downstairs II (DB 64377)


If you enjoyed Victoria, consider reading the novel that inspired the series:


Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

DB 86773

Read by Anna Wilson-Jones. Reading time: 12 hours, 27 minutes.

LP 30848; 653 pages.

A novelization of the early years of the reign of Queen Victoria (1819-1901). A young and inexperienced princess rises to the throne of one of the greatest empires in history. She must navigate the sometimes treacherous waters of court intrigue. Tie-in to PBS television series. Commercial audiobook. 2016.


If you enjoyed Wives and Daughters, consider reading the novel that inspired the series:


Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

DB 52145

Read by Barbara Caruso. Reading time: 29 hours, 32 minutes.

Hollingford, England; 1800s. When the village doctor, Mr. Gibson, decides to remarry, his only daughter, Molly, is resentful but becomes friends with her stepsister, Cynthia. The two young ladies’ social circle includes the family of Squire Hamley, who has two sons--Roger and Osborne. 1866.



If you enjoyed Wolf Hall, consider reading the novel that inspired the series:


Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

DB 70074

Read by Roy Avers. Reading time: 24 hours, 10 minutes.

Thomas Cromwell, a closet Protestant and blacksmith’s son who becomes advisor to Henry VIII of England, realizes that he can accumulate power and wealth by assisting the king in obtaining an annulment and simultaneously help commoners and his country by destroying the corrupt Catholic clergy. Booker Prize. Bestseller. 2009. 

Continue the series with:

Bringing up the Bodies (DB 74880)