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5.0 out of 5 stars Witty titles were never my strong point
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...
Published on July 15 2004 by Oymaprat

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars The *Other* Douglas Adams Saga
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*...
Published on April 5 2004 by Alan Caylow


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5.0 out of 5 stars Witty titles were never my strong point, July 15 2004
By 
Oymaprat (Nowhere In Particular) - See all my reviews
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars P.G. Wodehouse meets Dr. Who: a complete pleasure, July 7 2004
By 
Trevor Kettlewell "trevsbookreviews" (Nowra, NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
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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.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The *Other* Douglas Adams Saga, April 5 2004
By 
Alan Caylow (USA) - See all my reviews
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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".... :-)
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5.0 out of 5 stars A book on the fundamental interconnectedness of all things, March 28 2004
By 
Daniel J. Hamlow (Narita, Japan) - See all my reviews
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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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3.0 out of 5 stars A ghost-horror-detective-time-travel-romantic-comedy-epic, Nov. 25 2003
By 
Robert Holm (at home behind my keyboard) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Mass Market Paperback)
This is a very strange book. Adams himself has described it as a "ghost-horror-detective-time-travel-romantic-comedy-epic, mainly concerned with mud, music and quantum mechanics." It's hard to know who the main character really is. The title character, Dirk Gently, doesn't even appear in the story until almost a hundred pages into the book, and until that time, it seems that the story is really about computer programmer Richard MacDuff. But there are also ghosts involved, an Electric Monk from another world, an over 200-year old professor of chronology, and much else.
The story is a murder mystery, of a sort, and the plot gradually begins to centre around Dirk Gently's holistic concept that all things are fundamentally interconnected with each other. Gently himself is a very amusing and talkative character, and the highlights of the book is whenever he appears. The concept of the Electric Monk, and its purpose for existing, is also very entertaining.
Several elements of the story were salvaged by Adams from earlier ideas he had had when he was writing a few scripts (Shada and City of Death) for the "Dr. Who" show on BBC. And the story also reflects Adams's increasing interest in computers. Another bit of noteworthy trivia is that the publishing rights for this book, and its sequel, before either of them had been written, were sold for two million dollars.
Adams stays true to form, and the book is at times very funny. The solution to the mystery is unusual, to say the least, although the ending, suddenly involving quite a bit of sci-fi, is confusing and abrupt, and it's not exactly spelled out in detail how the world was saved. It is an entertaining read, although I can't help feeling it's not quite what it could have been.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Whatever you do, don't read this book!, Sept. 23 2002
By 
philiciono (Mountain View, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Mass Market Paperback)
... unless, of course, you're the kind of person who does precisely the opposite of whatever they are told to... oh! Hang on... that's all of us! Folks, not only is this book brimfull of the usual brilliantly quirky insights and satires of the inimitable mr Adams, but it is also an extremely well thought out, self-consistent detective story, with only a few completely fantastic creatures. (Don't be scared now!) And perhaps the odd (almost) impossible occurence. (Surprised?) The characters are an utter delight, and arguably more sympathetic than the cartoon figures from the hitchikers series. Guaranteed: you'll laugh out loud in places, and at least spend a good deal of the rest of the time with a most idiotically pleasant smile on your face. (Try not to drool in public.) Upon finishing, you will find yourself obsessively compelled to schedule an immediate re-reading, seeing as you will most certainly have missed a number of small delights and teasingly hidden clues. This story Rocks! And Haunts! Unmissable!
I also FORBID you to read Dirk Gently's further adventures in "The long dark teatime of the soul"!
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4.0 out of 5 stars I Listened to the Audio Book, April 30 2001
The Audio version of this book was definitely a treat for me. Listening to the story read by the author, hearing it the way Douglas Adams intended it to sound was great. I really enjoyed listening to his wonderful accent as he told this story. The story has all of Adams' amazing British humor, but also is liberally dosed with astounding intelligence. It is mostly a mystery story, with a bit of sci-fi thrown in for good measure. Dirk Gently is a detective that believes in the total interconnectedness of all things. It starts out with several seemingly unrelated story lines. These story lines are all intricately interwoven and the book ends with a satisfying... well... interconnectedness. Those of you that did not like the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series because it was "too silly" should give this book a try. It's anything but silly. Adams' logic can be astounding. Also, the bit with the couch being stuck in the stairway is intriguing. Adams challenges the reader to figure out how this couch is mysteriously stuck, defying all rules of physics.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Gets points for trying to be different, but is average, May 15 2004
By 
Peter LaPrade (worcester ma) - See all my reviews
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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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars easily Douglas Adams's best, Oct. 26 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Mass Market Paperback)
The people who say this is boring or difficult to understand are reviewing themselves, not this book.
I've read this six times and loved it each time. It's intended as pure entertainment (and I can't think of a more entertaining novel), but it just so happens it is better plotted than even Henry Fielding's "Tom Jones" and Milan Kundera's "Immortality", which is saying quite a lot. I'm not one of those lowbrows who go around calling pieces of genre fiction "classic", but this is close. Seven stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's a miracle of rare device, Oct. 12 2002
By 
Ventura Angelo (Brescia, Lombardia Italy) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Mass Market Paperback)
Douglas Adams has left us some rare gems, and one of these is this novel. Connect Coleridge's Kubla Khan whit fractal theory, software industry, Schrodinger cats and escatology...add a very unusual detective,and you have one of the weirdest mysteries ever written.You'll feel intrigued,haunted and bewitched... and the end will be worthy of your patience, provided you're not too fastidious whit scientific plausibility.
You'll love the uncanny athmosphere!
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Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Adams (Mass Market Paperback - June 1 1991)
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