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The third season of “Sherlock” premieres Sunday, Jan. 19, on KCTS with “The Empty Hearse.” The remaining shows in the season are based on Arthur Conan Doyle stories “The Sign of the Four”; “His Last Bow”; and “The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton.” (OK, overheated fans, get it out of your system: SQUEEEEEEE. Phew.) As an avid reader of The Canon, I suggest these as inspiration for Season 4:

‘The Speckled Band’

One of the first Holmes stories I read as a grade-schooler, it remains a favorite. Heiress in distress! Mortgaged manor! Instead of a snake and greed as the ho-hum culprits, though, the Cumberbatch-enhanced plot could employ hallucinogens and an organ-harvesting ring preying on orphans with rare blood types.

‘The Sussex Vampire’

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“The world is big enough for us. No ghosts need apply,” cried Holmes in this story, which likely delighted folk afraid of immigrants, the undead and jealous stepchildren who have access to poison darts. A modern twist might involve a heavy-metal band, a vampire bar and a love triangle. And at some point, Lestrade announcing, “Not my division.”

‘Silver Blaze’

This short story about a famous racehorse and its crooked trainer is one of Doyle’s favorites, and it was made into an excellent episode of the Granada television series that starred Jeremy Brett as Holmes in 1988. I’m seeing a modern adaptation with Mycroft embroiling his brother in something at a famous, royal-frequented racecourse. (Hmm, why did QEII win the Gold Cup at Ascot last summer?)

Melissa Davis, NWArts&Life editor

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