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Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency…
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Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (original 1987; edition 1988)

by Douglas Adams

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,350155278 (3.9)2 / 290
Member:HatsForMice
Title:Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
Authors:Douglas Adams
Info:Pan Books (1988), Edition: New Ed, Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Sci-Fi, Comedy, Bit Weird

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Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (1987)

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English (153)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All (155)
Showing 1-5 of 153 (next | show all)
the same exact type of humor found in the Hitchhikers' books. So I liked this. Your mileage might vary though, depending on your frame of mind. I recommend either being stupid tired or almost drunk to truly appreciate the comedy contained in this novel. ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
I had read this before in college, and thought it wasn't as good as the Hitchhiker's Guide books. This time I listened to the radio play version and felt much the same. It has that satirical British humor of course, and the absurdity you expect from Adams, but I thought that the different plot threads were hard to follow and the whole thing was just a bit too far on the absurd scale to be completely enjoyable. However, this was definitely preferable to The Cuckoo's Calling as far as private eye books go. I just couldn't get into that one. Dirk Gently was entertaining and had a Doctor Who vibe that kept me interested. ( )
1 vote jlharmon | Nov 3, 2016 |
I always adore Douglas Adams. This book was perfect. The best moment was when I realized that this was the Doctor Who City of Death serial. Also, how cool is it that he worked in so much Coleridge? ( )
  hylandk | Nov 2, 2016 |
The complete Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was my favorite book last year. This one didn't seem to hit the same notes with me. Instant love I had for the Guide. I didn't feel as connected with the Agency however. The book seems scattered and it doesn't seem like events in the plot are connected and explained very well, ESPECIALLY as Dirk Gently's entire deal is the connectedness of all things. Even Douglas Adams years later mentions not really understanding how the ending works out. Many of the characters were a little boring, even Dirk Gently, though he had a few good lines. It seemed like there were many unnecessary bits. Not as much humor either! I see this influencing so many things: the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde especially. I'm not sure how the show will work out. I guess it would be tough to compare anything to the perfection that is the Hitchhiker's Guide. It's such a shame it's disappointing, as I know there isn't enough writing from the genius Douglas Adams. ( )
  booklove2 | Oct 15, 2016 |
The cast of delightful characters in this book includes a software developer, a forgetful time traveler, an electric monk, a couple of ghosts (one used to be human), and a ‘holistic detective’ who claims he isn’t psychic. It also includes several smiles and a place or two where laughing out loud is required.

I pulled my old first paperback edition off my shelves a couple days ago (noting the whopping $4.50 cover price) because I just finished reading Shada by Gareth Roberts, which was a novelization for an unaired script written by Douglas Adams for the Doctor Who TV series. Something about Shada reminded me of this book. And it should have. Professor Chronotis, appears in both. In Shada, he is clearly an absentminded Time Lord. In Dirk Gently’s Holistics Detective Agency, he still is -- except the term ‘Time Lord’ isn’t used because this is not a Doctor Who story. Although it is, except it does not include the Doctor, so it really isn’t. In a way, it could be seen as a sequel to Shada with Professor Chronotis as the common character between them. Rereading this novel after Shada, provided answers to questions I had before, like who Chronotis is, where he got his time machine (now obviously a TARDIS), why he has lived so long, and what it was he enigmatically retired from before taking his post at Cambridge.

There are still a couple of things that leave me scratching my head -- like what exactly did they do to stop the alien ghost from altering the course of Earth history? My only complaint about the novel is that there isn’t more of it. I would have loved to see some of the scenes expanded, especially a bit more on the ‘electric monk’ and the scenes where Chronotis, Richard, and Dirk are travelling in the time machine not called a TARDIS, exploring the alien ghost’s ancient spaceship, and bringing him back in time to ‘correct’ his mistake. (I know that all may seem confusing, but I try not to put plot spoilers in these pseudo reviews.)

So, my recommendation for people who have previously read this book is to reread it after reading Shada. If you haven’t read this book, read Shada first, then this one, and then read The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. That’s what I plan to do tonight.

(My recommendations presume some familiarity with Doctor Who. If you are not familiar with Doctor Who, you have much catching up to do.)
( )
1 vote DLMorrese | Oct 14, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Adams, Douglasprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adams, Douglas NoëlNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jeans, LionelCover illustrationsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pekkanen, HilkkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
A thumping good detective-ghost-horror-who dunnit-time travel-romantic-musical-comedy-epic -The author
Dedication
To my mother, who liked the bit about the horse
Janet Thrift
First words
This time there would be no witnesses.
Quotations
Let's think the unthinkable, let's do the undoable, let's prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Wikipedia description: Dirk bills himself as a "holistic detective" who makes use of "the fundamental interconnectedness of all things" to solve the whole crime, and find the whole person. This involves running up large expense accounts and then claiming that every item (such as needing to go to a tropical beach in the Bahamas for three weeks) was, due to the "fundamental interconnectedness of all things", actually a vital part of the investigation. Challenged on this point in the first novel, he claims that he cannot in fairness be considered to have ripped anybody off, because none of his clients have paid him yet. He maintains an office at 33a Peckender St. N1 London, with telephone number 01-354 9112 (407-2882 in the advertising campaign for the book).
Gently has an odd facility for accurate assumptions, as every wild guess he makes turns out to be true. Once a student at St. Cedd's College, Cambridge, he left in disgrace when he attempted to acquire money by selling exam papers for the upcoming tests. His fellow students were convinced that he had produced the papers under hypnosis—in reality, he had simply studied previous papers and determined potential patterns in the questions. However when his papers turned out to be exactly the same as the real papers, to the very comma, he was arrested and sent to prison.
Haiku summary
Dirk Gently says: "All
Things are fundamentally
Interconnected."
(passion4reading)
Your usual, run-
Of-the-mill detective-time
Travel-ghost story.
(passion4reading)

No descriptions found.

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The investigations of Dirk Gently, a private detective who is more interested in telekinesis, quantum mechanics and lunch than fiddling around with fingerprint powders, produce startling and unexpected results.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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