The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (Dirk Gently, #2)

ISBN: 1597770086
ISBN 13: 9781597770088
By: Douglas Adams

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About this book

When a passenger check-in desk at London's Heathrow Airport disappears in a ball of orange flame, the explosion is deemed an act of God. But which god, wonders holistic detective Dirk Gently? What god would be hanging around Heathrow trying to catch the 3:37 to Oslo?And what has this to do with Dirk's latest—and late—client, found only this morning with his head revolving atop the hit record "Hot Potato"?Amid the hostile attentions of a stray eagle and the trauma of a very dirty refrigerator, super-sleuth Dirk Gently will once again solve the mysteries of the universe...

Reader's Thoughts


Once again, rather than attempt to describe the latest of holistic detective Dirk Gently's adventures, I will instead present a selection of completely random quotes from the book. They really have nothing to do with each other, but I like them."It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression 'As pretty as an airport.'Airports are ugly. Some are very ugly. Some attain a degree of ugliness that can only be the result of a special effort. This ugliness arises because airports are full of people who are tired, cross, and have just discovered that their luggage has landed in Murmansk (Murmansk airport is the only known exception to this otherwise infallible rule), and architects have on the whole tried to reflect this in their designs.""Perhaps it would save time if he went back to get his car, but then again it was only a short distance, and he had a tremendous propensity for getting lost when driving. This was largely because of his 'Zen' method of navigation, which was simply to find any car that looked as if it knew where it was going and follow it. The results were more often surprising than successful, but he felt it was worth it for the sake of the few occasions when it was both.""Confuse your enemy, he thought. It was a little like phoning somebody up, and saying 'Yes? Hello?' in a testy voice when they answered, which was one of Dirk's favorite methods of whiling away long, hot summer afternoons."Oh, Douglas Adams. Shine on, you crazy diamond.


I loved the Hitchhiker's Guide when I was 12, but I just couldn't get into Dirk Gently. Probably because the first Dirk Gently book begins so very oddly and slowly. Too bad I didn't start here, because this one gets going more quickly. It's funny, odd, but best of all has a sort of odd philosophy running throughout all the events, and especially Dirk's choices. He's the patron saint for those of us who sometimes do things that make no sense to others, but it all works out in the end. Not necessarily because we know what we're doing, but because the universe is like that. HGTTG is full of elaborate set pieces that let Adams' humor shine. But when it comes to a satisfying story and lovable characters, this will always be my favorite. Poor Adams died only a couple days before he was supposed to speak at my college, but the real tragedy in my mind has always been that he never finished the third Gently book.


If you are starting to get weary of all the reviews of Douglas Adams, do not despair this is the last. (No I do not count the ones that were written after his death.) To make it even better, this is perhaps the best. Or maybe I was just so upset by the last two Hitchhiker books that this seemed like the best. Either way it is a great book.This is the second, and last, book in the Dirk Gentry series. The only reoccurring character is Dirk Gentry and his secretary - although his secretary - although his secretary is very quite for most of the book. Instead of time travel, like the first book, we get to enter into the world of the Gods. Or rather, our world is getting destroyed by ours. Dirk Gentry, in his incompetent way, is put into the position of saving the world of the Gods from themselves, or ourselves, hum, depends on how you look at it.Either way, a great way to end my Douglas Adams reading spree.


Unfortunately, Adams' sequel to Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency isn't as tightly-written as its predecessor. On the sentence level, Adams is still writing furiously funny jokes, but The Long, Dark Tea-Time of the Soul ends up feeling like first-class humor wrapped loosely around second-class plot and characters. Adams has been accused of writing punchlines rather than plots, and it shows in this book perhaps more so than anywhere else. I also thought the book's flow suffered greatly in places, with important scenes not having enough space devoted to their development (especially in the last few pages, such as the Valhalla scene). In addition, Dirk Gently's "fundamental interconnectedness" approach to investigation--where everything is important because it's linked to everything else--is still present here, but the linked items don't line up as neatly as they did in the first book. I also found the conclusion lacking: at the end of Dirk Gently's..., I said "Fantastic!" aloud to the room around me; at the end of The Long, Dark... I turned the page and, when there was nothing else to read, said aloud, "That's it?" So: five stars for humor, but minus two for poor plot and flow.

Allen Brown

A book of complete genius. Whilst not laugh-out-loud funny as the Hitchhikers Guide series, this is neither a radio play masquerading as a book nor a five-book trilogy of a dead-horse flogger: it is actually written as a book. The recent TV adaptations did this book no favours. For the full-on experience of Adams' insanity, read the book.

Jayne Ryan

I loved this book in a fun, summer evening bed-time reading kind of way. I have never read anything by Douglas Adams before, but I had seen the Hitch Hiker’s series on TV as a teenager and found myself looking seriously at my older brother and his friends, as they laughed their way through it.So I came to Dirk Gently out-of-order, starting with this book which supercedes ’Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.’ In all probability, and with Adams’ theory of the ‘fundamental interconnectedness of all things,’ it may well be the best place to jump right in.Beyond quirky, and jumping from one character to another, I nearly gave up on the book, thinking there actually wasn’t very much connectedness going on at all. But slowly I came to love Dirk, for his unending willingness to see where the universe would take him, his belief that he would end up where he needed to be, and his preference for throwing his refrigerator away rather than cleaning it out.By the end of the book I was cheering for Dirk, and Adam’s ability to write from the feeling of the soul rather than the intellect won me over. I can’t wait to read the first book. What a shame he passed away before he completed the third book of the series.


Lots of hilarious moments, though the pacing's not quite up to the level set in the first Dirk Gently book. The ending especially feels rushed - he spends a long time building up this fantastic web of complexity, and then rips it down with a climax and ending that together are barely longer than "But it all worked out okay in the end."But, as a math student working through too many proofs right now, I really love Dirk's way of thinking! ...especially his reversal of Sherlock-Holmes-style logic:"What was the Sherlock Holmes principle? 'Once you have discounted the impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.' ""I reject that entirely," said Dirk sharply. "The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it which the merely improbable lacks. How often have you been presented with an apparently rational explanation of something that works in all respects other than one, which is just that it is hopelessly improbable? Your instinct is to say, 'Yes, but he or she simply wouldn't do that.' ""Well, it happened to me today, in fact," replied Kate."Ah, yes," said Dirk, slapping the table and making the glasses jump, "your girl in the wheelchair--a perfect example. The idea that she is somehow receiving yesterday's stock market prices apparently out of thin air is merely impossible, and therefore must be the case, because the idea that she is maintaining an immensely complex and laborious hoax of no benefit to herself is hopelessly improbable. The first idea merely supposes that there is something we don't know about, and God knows there are enough of those. The second, however, runs contrary to something fundamental and human which we do know about. We should therefore be very suspicious of it and all its specious rationality."Words to live by. Stay open-minded, because there's a lot we don't know about.


As much as I enjoyed ‘Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency’, I have to say that ‘The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul’ is the better book. The reason for that is simple – you get more Dirk for your pound! Whereas it was halfway through before this most intriguing of detectives put in an appearance in the first novel, here he arrives in Chapter Three – waging a war with his cleaner as to which of them is actually going to open the fridge door (something which hasn’t been done in over three months) and clean out whatever he or she finds within. It’s a highly amusing vignette, and one which Adams has the genius to turn into a major plot point.Having now re-read the whole canon, I think I’m qualified to examine Dirk Gently as a detective – and I find he actually has a great deal in common with Sherlock Holmes. (A man with whom he has fundamental differences on the subject of eliminating the impossible). Like Holmes he seems to be asexual, with a love of clutter and a great deal of esoteric information at his fingertips. Indeed he is possibly even more observant than Sherlock, as there are things that Dirk would spot which Sherlock would never give a moment’s credence to. Unfortunately though, there isn’t a John Watson equivalent on the scene to recount episode after episode of this great man’s adventures, but then Gently may be an even more infuriating person to hang around with than his Baker Street colleague.Indeed this tale opens with Gently’s secretary, having finally abandoned him, working at the check-in at Heathrow Terminal Two. When a passenger can’t board a plane the check-in desk shoots suddenly, and inexplicably, hundreds of feet into the air. From there we encounter angry eagles, mysterious Coke machines, one of the most truly bizarre murders in fiction (which is then, truly bizarrely, labelled a suicide by the police) and the entrance to Valhalla through London’s St Pancras station. Once again Adams’ plotting is not as strong as it could be, and the final quarter does drag somewhat, but it’s brilliantly written and the jokes do keep coming.It is a real shame that Adams died and we don’t have half a dozen more Gently tales (though given his productivity, that probably would have been unlikely anyway). But at least we have the two, and I promise it won’t be another twenty years before I re-read them again.


This book is good but does not live up to the standards of either the first Hitchhiker's book nor of the first Dirk Gently, novel that I enjoyed almost as much as the first Hitchhiker book.The first Dirk Gently novel was quirky and engaged with spiritual and psychic phenomenon in much the way that Adams engaged in the concepts of science in the Hitchhiker books. The first Dirk Gently novel delivered on quirky characters and situations. The second book is pretty pedestrian. There is an unusual murder, but the majority of the book is about a conflict between Norse gods. The name sake of the novel (Dirk Gently) puts in spotty appearances and the author is not able to pull off demonstrating an interconnectedness between the stories that would make it a stark component of the story.In the end if isn't a bad book. If you are desperate for more Adams than it is better than nothing. But it doesn't sing the way his other works do.--------Have just reread the book for the second time within 2 or 3 weeks. I enjoyed it more the second time. The book has a weird sort of wisdom to it.

The Crime Scene Scene

The Long Dark Tea-Time Of The Soul is the second novel in the Dirk Gently series by author Douglas Adams. Dirk Gently is hired by a record producer after he believes he has been stalked by a seven foot tall green eyed monster, However his client soon turns up dead having committed suicide and deciding to take his client's claims seriously happens upon exploding airport counters and a god of Norse mythology.Obviously this is a fantasy novel so it is not really a proper crime novel. That said it was still very humorous and enjoyable.Read the full review here


I hate lengthy descriptions. Once descriptive or expositive text goes past a few sentences, I tend to start skimming. It helps that Douglas Adams puts most of his humor into those parts, but still, I have to admit to doing a fair bit of skimming in the early parts of this one.Once we finally got to some action, I did get hooked in, but the plot wanders off from time to time. There's a good deal of set up with the mysterious boy in the murdered client's house; and then, poof, you never see or hear about him again.The ending reminded me of the accusation thrown at the Nick and Nora characters in the movie "Murder by Death": the last-minute introduction of withheld information so as to wrap up the end in a surprise that manages to be rather dissatisfying.So, the opening and ending are the weakest parts. In between is Adams's trademark humor and quirky characters, which was very definitely enjoyable and worth a read. If you're into that sort of thing.Enough reviews said positive things that I'm letting myself complain more than usual, just to point out the drawbacks. That said, I'll probably eventually reread it.

Simon Turney

It's not often that a standalone novel spawns a sequel that is actually better than the first, but that is what Adams achieved with this second Dirk Gently novel.'Teatime' is, to me, an improvement on the first book in two particular ways:1. The character interaction is stepped up to the point where every encounter and conversation makes me belly laugh until I hurt.2. The plot is tighter and less rambling than the first. While that was a strength of Dirk Gently 1, it would have been too much to do it again. This plot is a good, solid, fantasy/sci-fi/mystery one that builds beautifully.Certain passages stand out. I will always remember and love the opening scene with the airport, Dirk's navigation and the car accident, and Dirk with the eagle.Dirk becomes even funnier and more complex in this second outing and, given the wonderful addition of characters like Kate Schechter and Thor, it just couldn't be better.A brilliant novel and unsurpassed in the field of comedy literature for me.

Joe Revelator

Anyone who hasn’t at least heard of Douglas Adams or his fictional stories should immediately take a time-out to contemplate life, and how dull it’s been up until now. Seriously, we’ll wait…Just have a seat on the edge of the bed, or on the edge of anything that won’t run off, and consider how ridiculous this has all really been–this whole, life thing. Because Douglas Adams has considered it. Extensively.Done…? Good.Douglas Adams, author of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, wrote an unrelated set of novels about a Holistic Detective named Dirk Gently. The first book, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, was referred to by Adams as “…a kind of ghost-horror-detective-time-travel-romantic-comedy-epic, mainly concerned with mud, music, and quantum mechanics.”Whereas The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul could be considered more of a mildly depressed, slightly whimsical, and utterly impossible look at the dark brooding nature of bored Norse gods, and the drudgery of an immortal existence.I was loaned this book after my review of American Gods by Neil Gaiman, whose literary theme closely resembles that of The Long Dark Tea-Time. Namely how it revolves around the old-world gods who are trying, and failing, to live comfortably in a modern society that has all but forgotten them. In fact it was Gaiman who, in the same year as this book’s publication in 1988, released a companion book to Hitchhiker’s Guide called Don’t Panic. One doesn’t get a sense of intellectual theft between Gaiman and Adams though, since the feel of American Gods is more of an epic drama being battled out between mythical heroes. And The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul feels like…well, exactly what its title implies.“The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it which the merely improbable lacks.”The plot is so twistingly strange that trying to explain Tea-Time’s flow would be like sportscasting the flight of a bumblebee in real-time. It jogs back and forth, cuts in and out of reason, and takes breaks now and again to ponder about the strangeness it’s arrived at. It never takes so sharp a turn as to lose the reader, but it makes quantifying Tea-Time as convoluted as Douglas Adams’ quote (see above) about the first book in this series.To start, Dirk Gently is a man waging a silent, passive war against his housekeeper. The unspeakable horror that has evolved inside his filthy refrigerator has gotten so noxious, so vile, that his maid refuses to open the thing. Since she also proves too clever for Dirk to trick into cracking the seal, thus her being forced to clean it, Detective Gently is left with only one sensible option: he must buy a new refrigerator.His only prospective client is a paranoid shut-in who rants about monsters wielding scythes and deals being made with the devil. So it is to this mogul-turned-basketcase Dirk goes to visit. On his way he muses about how best to liberate his client’s substantial fortune, and what sort of refrigerator he should buy with his earnings. It isn’t until he arrives at his client’s estate that the severity of the old loon’s paranoia becomes evident, and Dirk finds the man’s decapitated head revolving slowly on a record player’s turn-table. The head appears to have been severed from the body by a long hooked blade. Something like a scythe.“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”It’s hard for characters to be portrayed as care-free and eccentric, without having them come off nihilistic and apathetic. Both Dirk and the female protagonist manage this wild eccentricity without straying into blatant insanity, or becoming wholly uprooted from their reality (although vacations are taken). Fans of the Hitchhiker’s series won’t be disappointed, even if Adams’ humor strays more into Valhalla, and less into spaceships. And anyone new to Adams’ work will be in for a treat, riding along with a private investigator who believes that if you haven’t any idea where you should be headed, just follow a driver who looks like they


Sometimes, even if you’re Thor, it’s very hard to get to Oslo. At least, if you’re Thor in a universe where humans created gods, and the gods need ongoing worship to exist. See generally This book might have been my introduction to the idea that humans created gods in our own image. And the pathos of being a being created to be worshipped once the worship stops. It also may have been the first book I read where a lawyer and an advertising executive got together to do something really nasty to some naïve . . . being. . . using a cleverly written contract. That might have had some impact on how I approach questions of substantive unconscionability in contract cases. Hm. Anyhoo, a lot of the plot happens off the page in this book and must be inferred from what happens. Some of it – like why an eagle keeps attacking Dirk, who is not much of a Sisyphean figure and why Thor travels around with his own Coke vending machine – are explained at the end, more or less, but others – like why Odin’s man servant has a giant green monster with a scythe and why Dirk’s refrigerator ended up there – are left as exercises for the reader. As well as what exactly Dirk did to keep a particular contract clause from being enforced . . . though Thor finding his inner Thor-ness rendered some of that moot. Dirk Gently of this book is much less like The Doctor of Doctor Who than the Dirk Gently of the Holistic Detective Agency. He’s drifting towards Susan Sto Helit of Discworld (Death’s adopted granddaughter and more than a little bit eldritch herself, despite her stark skepticism of the supernatural) and Shadow of American Gods (though Shadow lacks Dirk’s lively imagination). A more-or-less human character who can see the divine drama, be profoundly moved by it, and figure out the trick of it. I would have loved to have seen where DNA took it. It is also, quietly, freaking hilarious.


This is an interesting enough book, but it's really for dedicated fans of Douglas Adams only. The thin plot wanders along, but the wonderfully humorous descriptions and non sequiturs will keep fans of Adams reading. I love the fridge that had "begun seriously to lurk" in the kitchen. Adams wonderful descriptive prose aside, the book suffers from a lack of tension and a lack of interesting characters. Gently & Kate are, frankly, not particularly interesting people. This is not the masterpiece that is Hitchhiker, but if you've read all of Adams Hitchhiker books more than once, then you'll enjoy this novel. If you haven't read Adams work before, don't start here.

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