- Mass Market Paperback: 306 pages
- Publisher: Pocket Books; 5.2.1991 edition (June 1, 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0671746723
- ISBN-13: 978-0671746728
- Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 558 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #229,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 1991
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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From the Publisher
There is a long tradition of Great Detectives, and Dirk Gently does not belong to it. But his search for a missing cat uncovers a ghost, a time traveler, AND the devastating secret of humankind! Detective Gently's bill for saving the human race from extinction: NO CHARGE.
About the Author
Douglas Adams was born in Cambridge, England in 1952. He has written for radio, television and theater and has worked as a hospital reporter, barn builder, radio producer, and script editor. His bestsellers include The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Life, the Universe and Everything, So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul.
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This is a complicated novel, and to be able to understand it you really need to read it twice, or listen to it twice (or more) and I also needed to read a few blogs to really get it. It's a puzzle. Yes, you can solve the puzzle from the abridged version, but it will be more fun to have all the details.
There is also a version with several actors reading for BBC radio, that I tried and didn't like. Look for "Read by the author," and "unabridged" or "6 CD set"
Adams is most famous for the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy [H2G2] series. DGHDA shares the British absurdist humor of H2G2, but is a more genre-bending a work. While H2G2 crosses humor and sci-fi, DGHDA takes those two genres and throws detective and supernatural fiction into the works. The book was billed by the author as a “detective-ghost-horror-who dunnit-time travel-romantic-musical-comedy-epic.” Of these, “horror” is dubious given the fundamental silliness, “epic” is a little grandiose for a work of 300 pages, and the “romantic” and “musical” parts are rather thin.
The title refers to a detective agency owned by Dirk Gently, who believes in the fundamental interconnectedness of all things and is a bit of a con man. Gently is the lead character in a comedic sense, but his straight man--Richard MacDuff--has at least equal claim to being the book’s overall lead. (Just as straight man Arthur Dent leads in the H2G2 books.) Gently gets involve when he discovers Richard engaged in the inexplicable activity of breaking into the window of his (Richard’s) girlfriend’s apartment—a girlfriend with which he has a favorable relationship. This convinces Gently that Richard has either been hypnotized or possessed, either of which makes him a prime customer of Gently’s agency.
The mystery part of the novel revolves around the new owner and editor of a magazine—Gordon Way--who dies, and whose ghost continues to be active in story (even having PoV chapters in this shifting PoV novel.) Richard comes to believe he’s a suspect, although the bungling former editor of the magazine—Michael Wenton-Weakes--is the lead suspect. Of course, the fact that the deceased is the father of Richard’s girlfriend, Susan Way, does encourage the notion that Richard could be involved. Of course, it wouldn’t be much of a who-dun-it if it was a straightforward case of one of these men with motives having done it.
As would be expected of a book by Douglas Adams, it has its moments of hilarity, but it wasn’t as funny as the best of the H2G2 books. The best absurdist device introduced into the book is the Electronic Monk. In an era in which no one has time for believing in things, one can purchase or rent a robot to believe things for one—particularly those outlandish notions that are unsupported by evidence and thus are least worthy of the effort of belief.
The main characters are all sufficiently quirky to be memorable, likable, or both. The characters are one of the strengths of this book. The story is a bit disheveled, probably purposefully so, but it doesn’t make for the easiest work to follow--particularly early in the story when one hasn’t yet got a firm grasp of who’s who and who’s doing what. That said, it’s a decent enough plot, all things considered.
I’d recommend this for those who like humorous speculative fiction.
There's a charming, very old professor, a slightly confused ghost, your average computer programmer, and then Dirk himself. There are bits that are slow, especially the parts about computers, but skim those areas and keep on. You'll love this entertaining, unique ride.