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

ISBN: 0671742515
ISBN 13: 9780671742515
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


This is very hard for me, you know? I love Douglas Adams; I adore his phrasing, his word structure, and how he manages to make things seem funny,ridiculous, menacing or heartbreaking. I've loved the Hitchhiker books, and he continues to be one of the writers I care for quite immensely.This is why rating this book as 3/5 is so sad for me, this book started off great, with plenty of intrigue and mystery, and a bunch of characters that seemed interesting and off their rockers (in other words, regular Adams fare). So, I thought I was going to love it, and I did!But then I came to the last few chapters, and it seems like someone was on Adams's case, asking him to finish the damn book. The whole thing seems hurried, with characters jumping around and events taking place so fast that you couldn't even tell what had happened until you've read it again. His randomness, which is endearing when used carefully, is tossed about everywhere, as he ties up every single loose end in a matter of a few paragraphs.I won't lie; I felt cheated by the end of this book, and I don't like to be cheated.

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.

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.


I'm not sure whether this is the effect of not being jammed into half a train seat by someone twice the size of me, but The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul seemed less funny but more absorbing than the first book. It helped that it included Norse gods, I think. I had no idea that Douglas Adams had tangled with them.On the other hand, I don't really think that as much seemed to happen, somehow. Less plates seemed to be spinning. I think that was a good thing for the narrative, but it seemed to make the second book different in tone from the first... (And then I wonder if that was just because at no point did I have to stuff my Kindle back into a bag and run to get off a train because I was about to miss getting off at the correct station. I suspect I'm more influenced by the circumstances in which I read books than I realise.)So... on some levels, I enjoyed this more than the first book, and on some levels, less. Quite an odd feeling.I do like the nine tenths of the subconscious being given over to penguins.

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.

Harry Kane

I have yet to see or hear a coherent explanation why American Gods breaks records, whereas this gem, which even Gaiman himself I think would agree is in quite a higher league, never did make a splash. Just because it's not set in America? That would be pathetic.


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.


Maybe the only merit of this book is that it shows how The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy could have gone terribly wrong. Why, the 'Hitchhiker's Guide' is a buch of strange and witty ideas that have no direction and almost can't work together. Yet, through the excellent pace and the hilariously funny writing style, Douglas Adams pulls it off and made it into the great sci-fi comedy it became.Here, we again have weird ideas (even involving scandinavion gods) but, really, none of it works. The jokes are few and mostly weak attempts at humour. Because the investigation by Dirk Gently and the girl Kate is just a directionless sequence of silly events happening, there is no tension whatsoever.Since the characters are only slaves to the strange plot twists, they don't have an actual personality so to speak of. For instance, main character Dirk Gently is mostly incredibly stupid when Adams needs him for slapstick humour. But when the plot needs to be advanced at some point, Gently very temporarily becomes a genious that would outsmart even Spade and Marlowe.This is a book that, for the loving memory of Douglas Adams, had better be forgotten.


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.

John Wiswell

Adams' bizarre book is more of an adventure than a mystery, and more of a picaresque than an adventure. It's true, this plot wanders and is flimsy at times, but Adams always makes up for it with clever insights and hilarious jokes. Minor events mushroom at the end to unexpected relevance, a very bold literary move that would be a sign of laziness if these moves didn't work and we didn't recognize Adams' competence as a writer from the execution of his humor throughout. Fantasy readers and Adams' fans will have an easier time with some of the leaps in logic (such as what happens to a god when nobody believes in it), and most readers shouldn't expect a hardline plot after the first hundred pages of inaction and wild action. You go along with Adams because of his creativity, exhibited in such things as derogatory horoscopes, depressed deities and a philosophical calculater. His writing style is so absurd that, unless you don't hitch onto the entertainment value and profound ramifications, you ought to appreciate the absurd plotting that works as its product.


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.

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

Kate K. F.

I have mixed feelings about this book but then Adams is an author who only kind of works for me. In Long Dark Tea-Time, the Norse gods are creating trouble in England and Dirk ends up mixed up with them. In theory, Dirk is solving a mystery about men who died due to a demon but the plot isn't really the point. The idea of the book seems to be discussions into fate, belief and other topics with a strange sort of humor thrown in. I found some of the characters fascinating such as Kate who is pulled into the mess and the portrayals of the Norse gods and Valhalla, but the story itself left me disappointed. I haven't read a lot of Adams, Terry Pratchett is my go to fantasy humor author, because to me he manages better the balance of character, plot and humor.I'd recommend this book to someone who enjoys Adams and is curious to read another take on the Norse gods, but the end left me disappointed.


Though I love D.A. this was a disappointing work. Very funny at times but his absurd style together with his desire to only hint at major plot points, left me wondering what the hell was actually going on in the end. Did an old fridge really just spawn a new God that killed the bad guys? And what the hell was that eagle doing? Rushed ending, very few pieces tied. However, I laughed well - especially the line that goes something like, "I've had such a bad day that it would make Saint Francis of Assisi want to kick a baby."

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

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