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0449 | Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency | Douglas Adams

0449 | Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency | Douglas Adams post image

Context: It took me thousands of miles to read this on my way back to the UK after my first year in Saudi.

Read the Hitchhikers’ Guide ‘trilogy’ many years ago, so this is the first of Adams’ books that I’ve read since then. I loved the books I read back then. I didn’t love this one at all.

Dirk Gently is basically an earth-bound version of Ford Prefect: smug, charming and infuriatingly right about everything. So, there’s no originality there. Columbo-esque, the detective doesn’t appear until at least a third of the way through the novel, well after the crime has been committed and the victim is on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

It’s at about this point that, for me, the wheels came off. The characters weren’t engaging, the writing wasn’t as witty as I know Adams can be and I found myself wishing I hadn’t chosen it as the book to help me stave off boredom on an overnight flight to the UK. I didn’t find the detective added anything to the rapidly disintegrating plot and more fool me for expecting a detective story to have an ending that explained what had gone before. I was left wondering

why I’d bothered.

Okay, yes, the Adams genius for pithy wit and comment is there. The novel starts out very hopefully with a brilliant description of an electric monk which bears a curious resemblance to a human. But it doesn’t last. I was expecting more in this vein and instead got what seems to be a number of ideas that Adams had at the time and tried to cram all into one novel. It’s a shame really.

I’ve also recently picked up an old copy of The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul. Not sure how much I’m looking forward to that now…


This time there would be no witnesses


This might reveal the ending. If you want to see the quote, click show

RATING dirkr
Key: Legacy | Plot / toPic | Characterisation / faCts | Readability | Achievement | Style

Read more about how I come up with my ratings


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