The Dirk Gently Books
DIRK GENTLY’S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY (1987)
Although still in a comical approach, Douglas Adams leaves the Hitchhiker’s Guide space theme altogether with this 1987 novel. The adventures of Dirk Gently, an eccentric detective with near para-normal methods that are as funny as they are twisted. We encounter electric monks, the poet Coleridge, Bach, a computer geek, pizzas and much more! The book has been promoted as “a detective -ghost-horror-whodunnit-time-travel-romantic-epic”. In fact it’s a good description of the book.
The end of the book is particularly obscure and has led the fans (and Douglas himslef!) to the wildest interpretations.
It was Douglas’ first non Hitchhiker book. Douglas Adams got a 575.000 pound sterling advance from his UK editors and 2.7 million dollars from his US editors before having even written the first line! The book was a bestseller.
The subject was not totally new. As he already did for Life, the universe and everything, again Douglas unearthed more of his Dr. Who ideas for this novel (this time mainly from his famous unaired episode Shada).
THE LONG DARK TEA TIME OF SOUL (1988)
This is the second of the Dirk Gently adventures featuring the strangest detective on Earth, the Devil, Thor, yet more pizzas, an airport, evil advertising exceutives, an American woman stranded in London and a pop song (Hot Potato) that makes more sense than it may at first appear.
Once again, this is a big success, and this second novel is decisive in helping Douglas Adams break free of his Hitchhiker’s Guide name tag. The originality of this new series resides without a doubt in an improbable but talented mix of genres (science fiction, detective, mystery, romance, horror, romance) under the rallying banner of humour.
THE SALMON OF DOUBT (2002)
Published in Mai 2002, exactly one year after Douglas Adams’ death, “The Salmon Of Doubt” pays a beautiful homage to the intelligence and personality of this great author.
Included are a few chapters of the eponymous unfinished novel on which Douglas had been working on for six years! This novel existed in three forms, one of which was part of the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. The editor chose to publish only the more complete though, a version featuring Dirk Gently.
The plot, set a few weeks after the events in The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, involves Dirk Gently refusing to help find the missing half of a cat, receiving large amounts of money from an unknown client, and then flying to the United States. Dirk pays a visit to Kate Schechter (the americal journalist we met in The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul) and tells her that prior to the potential client, he had been so bored that he had started a habit of dialling his own phone number and discovered he’d answered his own calls. A faxed summary reprinted before the text mentions travelling “through the nasal membranes of a rhinoceros, to a distant future dominated by estate agents and heavily armed kangaroos.”