Dirk Gently – Overview of the Main Characters

Dirk Gently is well known for his strange and atypical characters.

• Dirk Gently

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His real name is Svald Cjelli.

Dirk describes himself as a “holistic detective” who makes use of “the fundamental interconnectedness of all things” to solve the whole crime, and find the whole person. This involves running up large expense accounts and then claiming that every item (such as needing to go to a tropical beach in the Bahamas for three weeks) was, due to the “fundamental interconnectedness of all things”, actually a vital part of the investigation. Challenged on this point in the first novel, he claims that he cannot be considered to have ripped anybody off, because none of his clients have paid him yet. He maintains an office at 33a Peckender St. N1 London, with telephone number 01-354 9112 (407-2882 in the advertising campaign for the book).

Gently has an odd facility for accurate assumptions, as every wild guess he makes turns out to be true. As a student at Cambridge University (St. Cedd’s College) he attempted to acquire money by selling exam papers for the upcoming tests. His fellow undergraduates were convinced that he had produced the papers under hypnosis, whereas in reality he had simply studied previous papers and determined potential patterns in questions. However, while innocent, he was arrested and sent to prison when his papers turned out to be exactly the same as the real ones, to the very comma.

Dirk Gently is probably one of the weirdest heroes of literature and seeems to be somehow away from the plot. As MJ Simpson wrote in its Pocket Essential Hitchhiker’s Guide “That’s the curious thing about Dirk Gently : he is a terrific idea and has proved himself, in his limited literary life, to be popular with teh readers. But his influence on his own novels is often minimal”.

• Janice Pearce

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Dirk Gently’s secretary. She finally resigns because her pay is hopelessly in arrears. She will then work at Heathrow Terminal 5… but will have to deal with the effects of Thor’s wrath.

• Richard MacDuff (book 1)
A young software engineer working for WayForward Technologies II, owned by Gordon Way. His Anthem software, which is designed as a spreadsheet, but also has a unique feature to convert corporate accounts into music, was extremely popular, but he is falling behind in his deadlines to create an updated version..

• Gordon Way (book 1)
The founder and owner of WayForward, who is pressuring Richard to complete his behind-schedule software project, and ends up getting shot for no immediately obvious reason a few chapters into the book, and becomes a ghost.

• Reg Chronotis (book 1)
(Professor Urban Chronotis, the Regius Professor of Chronology), Richard’s old college tutor, a fellow of St. Cedd’s College, Cambridge with no apparent duties, who is “on the older side of completely indeterminate”. He has a predisposition for childish conjuring tricks and an extremely bad memory.

• The electric monk (book 1)
The elctric monk comes from a planet very far from the Earth. Electric monks are coincidentally humanoid robots designed to believe in things instead of their owners. This particular monk had accidentally been connected to a video recorder and, in attempting to believe everything on the TV, had malfunctioned and begun to believe “all kinds of things, more or less at random”, including things like tables being hermaphrodites and God wanting a lot of money sent to a certain address. Since it was cheaper to replace the Monk than to repair it, the Monk was cast out in the wilderness to believe whatever it liked. The Monk also owns a somewhat cynical horse, which he was allowed to keep because “horses were so cheap to make”. Upon his arrival on Earth, the Monk has several humorous misadventures.

• Samuel Taylor Coleridge (book 1)
Writer and poe (1772-1834). For the sake of the novel, he is made to have attended St. Cedd’s College. His poems Kubla Khan and Rime of the Ancient Mariner figure prominently in the plot, but their significance is not explained entirely until the book’s end.

• Kate Schechter (book 2)
An american jounrlist who came first in England because of his boyfriend (who now lives in Oslo). It’s very difficult for her to get used to the British way of life, and the impossibility to get pizzas delivered at her home. She was at the wrong place at the wrong time and had to face Thor, and afterwards a someone even weirder : Dirk Gently.

• Mr Odwin (book 2)
Odin, Ancient Father of the Norse Gods, is now called Mr Odwin and spend all his days in a Clinic with clean bed and 24-hour nursing care.

• Thor (book 2)
Thunder God exiled on earth. He will loose his temper at the check-in desk at Heathrow Terminal 5 with dramatic consequences.