For some reason I have never watched any of the Monk television shows. But I’ve read a couple of the short stories about Adrian Monk, all written by Lee Goldberg — who was the writer of the three of the television episodes — and I liked the stories enough to try some of Goldberg’s novels. So far I’ve read Mr. Monk and the Dirty Cop and Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii, both of which are light, fun to read, and reasonably interesting. Since you’re probably more into popular culture than I am, you already know that the premise of the series is that Adrian Monk is an ex-cop who suffers from OCD and becomes a private detective who serves as a consultant to the San Francisco Police Department. Monk’s OCD is a primary focus of the short stories and the novels (I don’t know yet about the TV shows), as it not only defines his character but also always helps lead him to a solution to a crime. He also suffers from various phobias that add plot interest but may or may not advance the solution. It’s clear that Monk is based on both Sherlock Holmes and Nero Wolfe, with his assistant Natalie playing the role of Dr. Watson and Archie Goodwin. If you like this sort of cerebral detective story, as I do, try the novels. They will entertain you without taxing your brain too much.