Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (Dirk Gently #1)

ISBN: 0671625829
ISBN 13: 9780671625825
By: Douglas Adams

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About this book

What do a dead cat, a computer whiz-kid, an Electric Monk who believes the world is pink, quantum mechanics, a Chronologist over 200 years old, Samuel Taylor Coleridge (poet), and pizza have in common? Apparently not much; until Dirk Gently, self-styled private investigator, sets out to prove the fundamental interconnectedness of all things by solving a mysterious murder, assisting a mysterious professor, unravelling a mysterious mystery, and eating a lot of pizza – not to mention saving the entire human race from extinction along the way (at no extra charge). To find out more, read this book (better still, buy it, then read it) – or contact Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.

Reader's Thoughts


Kind of crazy... but a tub read nonetheless. Douglas Adams has a way of writing nonsensical things in a way that males them amusing, but this in now way compares go the wonderfully entertaining Hitchhikers series. Richard is not really a character that I loved. Dirk thinks too highly of himself and the final solution seemed too simple and easy in my opinion. however, Reg is an adorable old man, even if a little loony.I guess the ending really felt like a bit of a let down after I had found all of the rest quite funny.I'll read the second one now because I'm one of these people who like to complete the series.

Ismael Galvan

Weird and weird and British and weird. That's Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective. I just finished Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and needed a second helping of Douglas Adams's zany imagination. I looked up what other works he's done and was like, "Holy @%*! Batman, Adams wrote a detective novel!" A trip to the book store later, I held Dirk Gently in my hands.The beginning has a slow start up. I kept waiting for a story to form. The scenes were nice but where was the plot? And where the hell is this so-called holistic detective I'm so anxious to meet? For a minute I seized by unsettling though, "Oh crap, I spent 1,100 Yen on a dud! I knew I should have went with The Restaurant at the End of the Universe."No! I know Adams wouldn't take my beer money in so cruel a fashion. Then somewhere, a little late by my liking yet happily nonetheless, the magical Adams magic splashed across the pages like a spilled glass of Gargle Blaster. It got stranger, psychedelic-er, sci-fi-er, paranormal-er, and then, AND THEN, I was searching books forums to explain the ending.And then I said, "Oh, well I didn't know who the hell Sam Coleridge was."Despite this speed-bump, I dug this book. It has a darker and more subdued tone than the Hitchhiker's series. I'm anxious to read book two.


Where does one start with this book? I'm not really sure what I just read myself. I doubt Adams really knew what he was writing. Abstract doesn't even begin to describe it. I'm not very clear on the ending, it's just so random, but infinitely funny and entertaining. I'm not usually a fan of such work, reminiscent of Pratchett, Christopher Moore and to some extent, Gaiman, but this book was so enjoyable. True, there really wasn't a plot or any point to it, but it was just funny, wild, intelligent and delightfully absurd. Great job with the characters, especially Reg and Dirk. Witty dialogue, quirky characterizations, ridiculous events. A breath of fresh air really.Recommended for fans of Pratchett, lovers of silliness, quantum theorists and time travellers.


I recently watched the pilot episode of Dirk Gently and loved it. So, naturally, I picked up the book. Now this order of doing things is often frowned upon by many people, including me, but sometimes things just happen. The reason I'm telling you this is that I was slightly let down by the book, having seen (a version of) Dirk Gently in action before reading about him. There just wasn't enough of the detective in the book, while he (both versions) is such an interesting character. And yes, it was a fun little book, but felt a bit random and not as interconnected as it should have been, considering the holistic approach Dirk promotes.Also, having looked into some other reviews before writing my own, I have to say that a) I'm not going to touch on the Pratchett vs. Adams thing, but the seemingly random scenes in the beginning of the book and the time it took to actually reach the main character did remind me of many Discworld novels (nothing original about that technique, just saying). b) The Doctor Who connection - it's certainly strong, then again I'm a Doctor Who maniac. But I think it's safe to say that those of us who can't wait until the next Doctor Who episode (September!) will certainly enjoy Dirk Gently's company.

Rob Poole

I finished the Dirk Gently book. I read it mostly in one sitting. I did like it, but I will admit that it seems like this book was only setting up characters and ideas for a better book. While I liked Dirk Gently as a character, I can't say that I very much liked any of the other characters, except for maybe the Electric Monk. The cast of boring Brits only seemed to serve as fodder for Dirk to quietly weasel his way into this strange world. Also, things seemed to happen relatively fast throughout the novel. One moment Richard is talking to Reg and then the next Gordon is dead and Richard is to blame and then the next Richard is off the hook and Michael is possessed by a ghost and trying to use a time machine that we only just discovered even exists. As a mystery the novel isn't very mysterious, so I assume it isn't a mystery. As a satire it is much better, being relatively light-hearted and a fun to read. I think Adams' prose is the star in the book. He's a funny guy and effortlessly tells stories that make you smile. I would have enjoyed a novel that more centrally focused on Dirk, but in another fashion I think that maybe that would have been less enjoyable to read. In conclusion, I think it's a classic Adams installment, but I definitely don't like it as much as I liked Hitchhiker's Guide. All the silly science fiction bits in the Guide tickle me, but Dirk Gently isn't quit as fantastical in some ways. I think it's because Arthur Dent is thrust into this whole new incredible world and we as readers feel equally as thrust into this silly bit of science fiction. Dirk has this arrogant air about him because he wants to seem like he already knows what's going on before it ever happens, so we feel less connected to the story because we don't know what's going on. I guess that's why he threw Richard MacDuff into the story, so we could at least have someone a bit more relative, but Richard doesn't seem to have the charm that Arthur Dent has. I am excited to read the next installment. I hope it has deeper characters and more silly bits.


I did not like this book. I can see my choice to not read it was right on the money.I must say I was very disappointed. I'm a big fan of Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide series, so I had high expectations for another tounge-in-cheek story.It just goes to show that just because lots of critics think something is good doesn't mean it will be good.*SPOILERS AHEAD*The whole book drags for the first 3/4. Similar to HHG, the are various stories happening in parallel. But, unlikle HHG, the stories don't get connected in the end. The whole electronic monk thing was annoying. Also, the time travel component with the alien ship that was ultimately responsible for creation of life on Earth was yet another rehash of Ray Bradbury's time travel story where dinosuars are hunted.Also, for a book with the title 'Dirk' in it, a good part of the book doesn't involve Dirk. Dirk only comes in about after the midway point. And, one we meet Dirk, I found him very annoying. I wasn't sure to dismiss Dirk or punch him in the mouth.I have no plans to read the rest of this series, but I am glad I read it. Now I know that it really wasn't that good.


What did I think? Hmm... I thought that this book was amazing. Mainly because I totally sync with the author's writing style, but also due to the plot, the characters and the subject matters he deals with in this book! I saved so many quotes to my iPhone while reading this... my poor Notes app is overfilling! But let's not get ahead of ourselves. First off, Adams is just a genius writer. I do believe that everyone can agree with that sentiment. His Hitch Hicker's Guide to the Galaxy series is one of the most popular out there, after all! (And one that I've read through a couple of times as well!) I actually wanted to read the second book in this series, The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul, for some reason which I can't remember now, but it included GoodReads, something someone said about it, and the crazy title. But before I can read any book in the middle of a series, I really need to read the first books in that series! Thus commenced the lovely road that was Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. And it really was a lovely book to read. Amusing, quirky, filled with paradoxes and conundrums and so forth (say, have you ever gotten a sofa stuck in the staircase that leads to your flat in such a way that it is technically impossible to even have found its way there? If so, you might want to consider the possibility of (view spoiler)[the involuntary of a time machine! (hide spoiler)]). What I loved most about this book was the way that Adams always includes real scientific newsworthy discoveries into his plots. Who else would base a detective agency based on quantum theory? Who else would set a whole book around such crazy things as ghosts and time travel and saving the universe and still have it coming out slightly believable? Why, Douglass Adams of course!Anyway, I've been having trouble gathering my thoughts for decent reviews lately, so I think I should leave this one where it is without spoiling any more of the story. I hope to be enjoying the second book in the series just as much as this one!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>


One of the most annoying things about reading the Kindle edition of this book was the fact that popular highlights show up and you can't turn them off, at least not easily. It drove me mad. It was inevitably the parts that you'd pick out as funny for yourself, not anything surprisingly good...Anyway, I grew up with Douglas Adams' work in the background, on the radio while we ate or while me and my sister played after dinner and my dad tried to relax. He's a big Douglas Adams fan, though he sticks mostly to the radio stuff, thinking that has more life.I do enjoy Douglas Adams' writing, but I didn't find Dirk Gently as compulsive to read as Hitchhiker's Guide. There were a lot of good bits -- things I might pull out as memorable quotes -- but it didn't come out that memorably as a whole. The quotes are memorable without the story surrounding them. They're sort of bon mots that felt sort of pasted in, for the most part.It's fun, don't get me wrong, and it was excellent train reading: entertaining without needing my full focus.


This book has all of the random lunacy of the best of the Hitchhiker Trilogy, and I love it. The story, such as it is, is that a man is murdered, and in the aftermath, his friend meets up with a holistic detective who may be completely brilliant and may be psychic and may be a liar and is probably a little of each. They wander around for a bit, mostly to give Adams the chance to skewer the education system, the practical details of life as a ghost, the standard elements of detective noir, and mankind's willingness to make machines do everything we don't like to do (the best example: The Electric Monk, who will believe anything, even contradictory notions, so that you don't have to). There are musings about the origin of mankind, especially toward the end, and I do think that the book suffers a bit when Adams starts tying together the many threads of his narrative, being painfully obvious in a few places and a bit too subtle in others, but this is still a strong and very funny book that made me chuckle out loud more than once, and I highly recommend it for anyone who enjoyed the first three Hitchhiker books.

Steve Mitchell

The five books that make up the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy trilogy (I know, I know) are my favourite novels of all time. However, Dirk Gently is my favourite character that the late Douglas Adams created: just piping Ford Prefect and Marvin, the paranoid android, to that particular title.In his first outing, the holistic detective that bases his investigations on the fundamental interconnectedness of everything becomes embroiled in a case where he immediately realises that two aspects are actually impossible. Fortunately the word impossible is not found in our hero’s dictionary; in fact, everything from herring to marmalade appears to be absent.It is a case that pans out to include ghosts, electric monks, horses inexplicably in second storey bathrooms, murder, pizza, clairvoyance, a stuck sofa, a visitor from Porlock and a university professor adept at conjuring tricks in a plot that a mere mortal such as I would only ruin if I attempted to summarise. This is one of those books that you just have to read, although background knowledge of the works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge would be beneficial in this case.


I hadn't read any Douglas Adams before. The first few chapters, I thought "This writing isn't all that great, and I'm not sure what's going on", and that was about that. Then, after a few chapters, I started to be charmed a little, and the plot started to suck me in. For the first half of the book, that's pretty much where I remained: fairly interested and occasionally amused. Then, around halfway through, things started coming together, and I realised that although Adams may not have been among the greatest ever prose writers, he could damn sure conceive and construct a story. And the comedy just kept getting better too. And then, with around 30-odd pages to go, almost out of nowhere, he blew me away for the first time, really amazing me with the (actually fairly small and insignificant) turn the plot took. And over the final few pages, he consistently dazzled me with the sheer scale, audacity and intricacy of what he'd pulled off, as well as filling me with a fairly hefty sense of wonder. I actually had to stop reading for a minute or so every few pages to give myself chance to recover. When I'd finished, it felt as if a small but important fuse had blown somewhere in my brain. I kept going back and rereading small sections to make sure I hadn't missed anything, and to appreciate things for a second time. Overall, the set-up is OK, but the payoff is fantastic!


I still don't really understand how the ending of this book worked, and trying to describe the plot would be like trying to build a submarine out of cheese. Instead, I'll just share some quotes from this book that I especially loved, because Douglas Adams is the only author in the history of the world who is capable of creating them."'A horse?' he said again. 'Yes, it is,' said the Professor. 'Wait - ' he motioned to Richard, who was about to go out again and investigate - 'Let it be. It won't be long.'Richard stared in disbelief. 'You say there's a horse in your bathroom, and all you can do is stand there naming Beatles songs?'""Richard stood transfixed for moment or two, wiped his forehead again, and gently replaced the phone as if it were an injured hamster. His brain began to buzz gently and suck its thumb. Lots of little synapses deep inside his cerebral cortex all joined hands and started dancing around and singing nursery rhymes." "On the wall was a Duran Duran poster on which someone had scrawled in fat red felt tip, 'Take this down please.'Beneath that another hand had scrawled, 'No.'Beneath that again the first hand had written, 'I insist that you take it down.'Beneath that the second hand had written, 'Won't!'Beneath that - 'You're fired!'Beneath that - 'Good!'And there the matter appeared to have rested.""'Welcome, by the way, to my offices.'He waved a vague hand around the tatty surroundings. 'The light works,' he said, indicating the window, 'the gravity works,' he said, dropping a pencil on the floor. 'Anything else we have to take our chances with.'""'Don't you listen to anything you say? The whole thing was obvious!' he exclaimed, thumping the table. 'So obvious that the only thing which prevented me from seeing the solution was the trifling fact that it was completely impossible. Sherlock Holmes observed that once you have eliminated the impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the answer. I, however, do not like to eliminate the impossible.'"


"'Ah,' said Dirk, 'it is a rare mind indeed that can render the hitherto nonexistent blindingly obvious. The cry "I could have thought of that" is a very popular and misleading one, for the fact is that they didn't, and a very significant and revealing fact it is too.'"Douglas Adams brings his characteristically odd sense of humor to the mystery genre, tying music, literature, and quantum mechanics into a story of murder and paranormal activity. That the various plot threads come together only toward the end is to be expected; it *is* a mystery story, after all. But the solution, though it ties the threads together well, seems to come out of nowhere. How much this bothers you will depend on how much you enjoy Adams' quirky style.An enjoyable read, but not quite as good as the "Hitchhiker" books.


I first read this book quite a while ago, probably not long after it came out. A time we could look forward to a Douglas Adams book instead of having to look back to the past. He is missed.I don't think I got anything more out of Dirk Gently than I did twenty years ago, but that's just fine.It's funny without being silly, wry without being mean. I love Adams's humor, his turns of phrase, and how everything comes together in the end. Or the beginning. Or both.


I want an electric monk.As Douglas Admas tells us in this book, every civilization creates mechanical devices designed to save us from our labor. We have diswashers to wash our tedious dishes for us, VCRs to watch those tedious television programs so we don't have to, and finally the Electric Monk to believe on those things we can't be bothere to believe in.Is that cool, or what?As strange as it sounds, the Electric Monk is actually integral to the plot. But this plot is complex enough to deserve it. The main character, more or less, is Richard MacDuff, an up-and-coming young computer programmer who has several unique problems. The first problem is that of his couch - it's stuck in the stairwell and, by all logic as affirmed by the best computer modeling systems, should never have gotten where it was in the first place.The second problem is that he's wanted for the murder of his bosss. He didn't do it, of course, but that kind of thing doesn't really impress the police. And, of course, there's the problem with the woman he loves, Susan, who just so happens to be the sister of the boss whom Richard is accused of murdering.Add into all that the titular Dirk Gently, if that is his real name. Dirk is a man who, since college, has unswayingly, constantly denied having any kind of psychic powers whatsoever - which caused him some problems during his university days when he managed to correctly predict, down the the comma, the contents of a major exam.Now older and weirder, Dirk runs his Holistic Detective Agency. His work rests on one simple principle: the Fundamental Interconnectedness of All Things. Based on a common misunderstanding of quantum theory, Dirk believes that all things are fundamentally connected to all other things, no matter how tenuous those connections might appear to the unaided eye. So during the course of, say, looking for a lost cat, it is entirely possible that he may have to go down to the beach in Bermuda. Because, fundamentally, all things are connected. And billable.Then there's the matter of a time machine hidden in Cambridge and the temptation that can arise from having one. With what amounts to a TARDIS, one could go to any point in time and space. You could visit ancient lands, pet extinct animals or, if necessary, fix something that had gone terribly, terribly wrong. It's tricky, but it can be done. And if you're the ghost of an alien whose simple mistake – putting his trust in an Electric Monk, for example – consigned it to billions of years of insubstantial solitude, a time machine might be very tempting indeed.There's really no good way to summarize this book. As Douglas Adams is fond of doing, there seem to be several plotlines and events which, at first, seem to ha ve no relation to each other. But as you read, you find out that the Electric Monk isn't as funny as we thought he was, that putting a salt shaker into a piece of pottery can cause more problems than you think, and that you should always be afraid of people with nothing to lose.As Dirk claims, all things in this book are fundamentally interconnected, even if it's not obvious at the moment.Yes, even the couch.

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