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