5.0 out of 5 stars Dirk Gently -- excellent
I bought this book to replace one I loaned out several years ago -- it was never returned. Love Douglas Adams and this series; so happy to reread it and realize it's as good or better than I remember.
Published 2 days ago by Lynn
3.0 out of 5 stars Gets points for trying to be different, but is average
"Dirk Gently's Holistic Dectective Agency" is an OK book. It is a different kind of mystery, as Douglas Adams intended. However, I found this book quite inferior to the "Hitchhiker" series, as it did not have that same pizzaz. Basically, there has been a murder, and some try to solve it. Dirk, the detective in the title who doens't appear until...
Published on May 15 2004 by Peter LaPrade
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dirk Gently -- excellent,
4.0 out of 5 stars It's Classic Douglas Adams,
5.0 out of 5 stars All books by Douglas Adams, actually,
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book by Douglas Adams,
Well worth reading, if only for the bit about the horse.
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty titles were never my strong point,
This review is from: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Mass Market Paperback)First of all I would like to say that I'm not the sort of person who needs everything to make sense to enjoy something (I'm a Doctor Who fan for Christs sake!) so that is something that helps me love this book.
Mr Adams was (and boy do I hate saying was) a master craftsman. He could be intelligent, witty and plain wierd at the same time and still have room for a bit of sentimentality.
I'm pretty confident that if you're reading this then you have enjoyed another of Mr Adams works. In which case I'm sure that you will delight in reading this as it is in the same style as many of his other books. It is fair to compare it to the Hitchhiker series as it is done in much the same vain. In my opinion it is as good as the aforementioned. Yes so the ending doesn't totally fit everyones perspective of great, but it suits me. It's full of lots of ideas that didn't neccessarily works out, but for me that is just as great; trying to work out what Mr Adams had as alternate plots. Even though the title charactor doesn't turn up till a good half way in, his soon to be friend, Richard Macduff does a good enough job of entertaining us. One to one, I strongly reccomend this to any other Adams fan, and for that matter any other fan of literature. It is truely great, as is its sequal.
5.0 out of 5 stars P.G. Wodehouse meets Dr. Who: a complete pleasure,
This review is from: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Mass Market Paperback)If you got P.G. Wodehouse to write a Dr. Who script you might come up with something like this. Why not? Apparently as well as script editing for series 17 (featuring, for example, 'City of Death' where John Cleese is an art dealer), Adams wrote a couple of episodes ('The Pirate Planet', and the unfinished 'Shada' which featured none other than Prof. 'Reg' Chronitis and his TARDIS style study). Sorry, enough trainspotting (thanks G & J).
The Dr. Who thing only hit me late in the book, but that's partly because 'Dirk Gently' only pops up about half way through, and he's most enjoyably reminiscent of Tom Baker in his distracted purposefulness. I suppose there's something of Ford Prefect there too, and other elements of Hitch Hikers - yet another confused alien species looking to earth as an Eden and changing the deep past and whole evolution of humanity. And I suppose Richard could be played by whoever was DentArthurDent in the TV show.
But, hey, this isn't having a go at the book, which is sheer pleasure to read. It's not at all a cheap carbon of earlier Adams, there's just some lovely echoes. The guy just writes so wonderfully - like Wodehouse - and the dialogue is full of good (frightfully British) humour and character. Moreover the comic observations on the everyday are clever and flawlessly executed. The setting is surprisingly coherent when you get down to it (I *love* the way he casually resolves the sofa paradox that's been running through the whole book) - there's really nothing I can think of to complain about with it. I'm used to books lifting me up and then disappointing, but this manages to ebulliently float you along from start to finish.
I'm so glad I decided to start rereading books. It must be over a decade since I'd read this and I only had the vaguest recollection of some of the key images. But the chief pleasure of Adams can't be reduced to, say, the plot line, which, while fine, is in one way incidental (i.e. the characters and dialogue are good enough to stand alone). I get the impression he was in a fairly positive state of mind when he wrote this (as opposed to Mostly Harmless), and in excellent form, so these character's are simply pleasant to be with - as well as being hilarious and - as with those of Pratchett on a good day - charming.
3.0 out of 5 stars Gets points for trying to be different, but is average,
This review is from: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Mass Market Paperback)"Dirk Gently's Holistic Dectective Agency" is an OK book. It is a different kind of mystery, as Douglas Adams intended. However, I found this book quite inferior to the "Hitchhiker" series, as it did not have that same pizzaz. Basically, there has been a murder, and some try to solve it. Dirk, the detective in the title who doens't appear until about 1/2 way through, is not interested in solving the murder, no, he wants to know why Richard McDuff, an employee of the victim, climbed into his girlfriend's flat. That McDuff's girlfriend is the victim's sister is beside the point. Dirk feels that all things are interconnected, and also wants to figure out how an old professor managed to do an impossible trick. Soon, we discover, the prof has a time machine, and there is a ghost who wants to reverse a billion year old error, which would mean the end of all life. A few chuckles, but mostly headscratching.
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Mediocrity,
This review is from: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Mass Market Paperback)Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of Douglas Adam's writing, is that there will not be any more. This book offers solace to those seeking Adam's wit beyond the hitch hiker series.
While the general plot is at times annoyingly insane, the character development is priceless.
A must read for any classic Adams fan, if only for just the revealing look into the digital world of the 1980s.
3.0 out of 5 stars The *Other* Douglas Adams Saga,
This review is from: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Mass Market Paperback)The oddball detective Dirk Gently and his "client" Richard MacDuff go on an investigation to solve a murder, AND save the human race from extinction as well....No one could've expected Douglas Adams to write nothing but "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy" books his entire life, and so, in 1987, he began a new series of books centered around a *very* unconventional detective named Dirk Gently, who uses his belief "in the interconnectedness of all things" to solve crimes. His introductory adventure, "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency," is a very different creation altogether from the popular "Hitchhiker's Guide" books. Like it says on the back cover, "Dirk Gently" is a combination of ghost, horror, detective, time-travel, and romantic comedy. The results are mixed---the book takes a while to get going (Dirk Gently himself does not physically appear for a LONG time), the story is confusing at times, and it just isn't laugh-out-loud funny like the majority of the "Hitchhiker's" series. But "Dirk Gently" still has it's amusing moments, including the plight of Gordon Way, Richard's relationship with his cello-playing girlfriend, Susan, and Dirk hypnotising Richard into doing something that, for me, was totally unexpected and very, very funny (but I won't spoil it for you). Also, as a fan of the popular sci-fi series, "Doctor Who," which Adams wrote some stories for, I was also delighted to see the appearance of Professor "Reg" Chronotis, a character from Adams' "Doctor Who" story, "Shada," who plays an important role here as well.Unfortunately, Adams gives "Dirk Gently" an ending that only raises more questions than it gives answers. Besides not making any sense (well, not to me, anyway), the ending feels hastily written, as if Adams was racing against the clock to meet a deadline with his publishers, couldn't come up with a *plausible* way for Dirk to save the day, and so, he scribbled down a nonsense scene to end Dirk's adventure with. And also, what happened to the Electric Monk, or Michael Wenton-Weakes? Adams doesn't say. So, in the end, "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" is a very mixed bag, but I'm going to give it 3 out of 5 stars because it's still a pretty amusing book, with some pretty amusing characters, and I AM curious to see where Adams takes Dirk next. Alright then, onto the second Dirk Gently book, "The Long Dark Tea-Time Of The Soul".... :-)
5.0 out of 5 stars A book on the fundamental interconnectedness of all things,
This review is from: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Hardcover)Having finished with the Hitchhiker's series with So Long And Thanks For The Fish, Douglas Adams created a diptych utilizing the character of Dirk Gently, an eccentric character who in this first novel creates the self-titled Holistic Detective Agency. His method does not involve using fingerprint powder, but rather seeing the fundamental interconnectedness of things. As he elaborates to a client, "I see the solution to each problem as being detectable in the pattern and web of the whole. The connections between causes and effects are often much more subtle and complex than we with our rough and ready understanding of the physical world might naturally suppose." Missing cats is a specialty, using Schrodinger's quantum mechanics equation. It also serves to exploit old woman seeking their missing cats of their money, that is if he ever gets paid.
Gently cross paths with his old classmate from St. Cedd's College, Cambridge, Richard MacDuff, who is having a trying and interesting time. MacDuff, a computer programmer working for Way Forward Technologies, becomes involved with his old college tutor, Professor Urban Chronotis, the aged Regius Professor of Chronology, and hence bearing the nickname "Reg" whose vice is conjuring tricks, and in the middle of a dinner honouring Samuel Taylor Coleridge, performs a totally inexplicable one involving a salt shaker and a Grecian pot that perplexes MacDuff. Equally perplexing is how a horse entered the bathroom of his professor.
MacDuff has many other things to worry about. He's overdue on a software programme for his boss Gordon Way, he isn't spending enough time with his girlfriend Susan, who's his boss's sister, and he's got a sofa lodged halfway up the stairs to his flat. To make matters worse, he then sees the ghost of his boss, who was mysteriously killed at the same time he was at the Coleridge dinner, and is wanted by the police for questioning.
Adams' usual humorous observations on human foibles are at play here. He describes Reg's memory as being comparable to a Queen Alexandra Birdwing Butterfly, "in that it was colorful, flitted prettily hither and thither, and was now, alas, almost completely extinct." Reg and the eccentric Dirk, who seems able to explain things MacDuff can't, are the best characters here.
As for MacDuff, there is some of Adams in this character. Like MacDuff, Adams attended Cambridge and went for an English Literature degree, only it was at St. John's College and not St. Cedd's per the novel. Adams also managed to turn in only three essays (!!), which was three more than MacDuff completed.
Some may know that Adams was the script-editor for Dr. Who from 1978-1979. Elements from two stories he personally wrote, City Of Death and Shada pop up here. In the latter story, there is a character called Professor Chronotis as there is here.
The humour is more tempered than in Hitchhiker, and relies more on wit and funny situations rather than the laugh-out-loud comedy of the HH series. And this is more a sci-fi/mystery rather than a meta-scifi comedy in space. Adams never loses his imaginative streak, in terms of story and writing style. I read this immediately after the last HH book and found it an amusing and entertaining read.
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Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Adams (Mass Market Paperback - Jun 1 1991)
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