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Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Dirk Gently #1)

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  91,245 Ratings  ·  2,118 Reviews
What do a dead cat, a computer whiz-kid, an Electric Monk who believes the world is pink, quantum mechanics, a Chronologist over 200 years old, Samuel Taylor Coleridge (poet), and pizza have in common? Apparently not much; until Dirk Gently, self-styled private investigator, sets out to prove the fundamental interconnectedness of all things by solving a mysterious murder, ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 306 pages
Published June 1st 1991 by Pocket Books (first published May 15th 1987)
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Jason Holt I thought The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul was much weaker than Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. So if you read the second one and it isn't…moreI thought The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul was much weaker than Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. So if you read the second one and it isn't your cup of tea, you should still try the first one.(less)
Claus I don't think so. The humour is quite sophisticated, and you need at least a superficial knowledge of Coleridge's poetry if you want to fully…moreI don't think so. The humour is quite sophisticated, and you need at least a superficial knowledge of Coleridge's poetry if you want to fully appreciate the book.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Nov 05, 2008 Madeline rated it really liked it
I still don't really understand how the ending of this book worked, and trying to describe the plot would be like trying to build a submarine out of cheese. Instead, I'll just share some quotes from this book that I especially loved, because Douglas Adams is the only author in the history of the world who is capable of creating them.

"'A horse?' he said again.
'Yes, it is,' said the Professor. 'Wait - ' he motioned to Richard, who was about to go out again and investigate - 'Let it be. It won't b
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I am a firm believer that a bit of British humor is good for the soul...
And I am quite American, in case you did not know...

“Don’t you understand that we need to be childish in order to understand? Only a child sees things with perfect clarity, because it hasn’t developed all those filters which prevent us from seeing things that we don’t expect to see?”
Douglas Adams has a highly quotable, laugh out loud writing style which I adore; I seem to remember a blurb describing this book as The Hit
Jun 03, 2016 Apatt rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
“He instituted this Chair of Chronology to see if there was any particular reason why one thing happened after another and if there was any way of stopping it. Since the answers to the three questions were, I knew immediately, yes, no, and maybe, I realised I could then take the rest of my career off.”

Books by Oscar Wilde, Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams have (at least) one thing in common. I can easily pick funny, witty, interesting quotes from every page. The above quote represents Adams’
Ian Wood
Sep 22, 2007 Ian Wood rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: douglas-adams
Douglas Adams' underated masterpiece leads Dirk Gently from a search for a missing cat to unlocking the secrets of time travel and saving the human race from total extinction.

I thought no-one could write a better comic novel than 'The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy' until I first read this. I've subsequently re-read this novel countless times and it never fails to entertain, I'm still finding references to literature and popular culture that I've previously missed.

That a novel can be re-rea
Robin (Bridge Four)
Dec 03, 2014 Robin (Bridge Four) rated it really liked it
From the title you would think this is possibly about a detective agency. Well there is an agency but they don’t detect things in the normal matter. You should probably guess that since it is a Douglas Adams book and when has he written anything really normal (I mean that in the best way).

Nope for this book “Let's think the unthinkable, let's do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.”

There is craziness, absurdity, the intercon
Kris Larson
Jun 15, 2009 Kris Larson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, fiction
Hysterical. If you liked The Hitchhiker's Guide but thought it could do with fewer spaceships, try this. If you're shaking your head in bafflement, thinking "Fewer spaceships? Do you want to ruin the whole thing, woman?" try this. If you've never read any Douglas Adams at all, try this. If you like things that are good, try this.

On the other hand, I am pretty sure my best friend hated it, and she does often like things that are good, so maybe it's not for everyone. But try it anyway.

"He was rou

I recently watched the pilot episode of Dirk Gently and loved it. So, naturally, I picked up the book. Now this order of doing things is often frowned upon by many people, including me, but sometimes things just happen.

The reason I'm telling you this is that I was slightly let down by the book, having seen (a version of) Dirk Gently in action before reading about him. There just wasn't enough of the detective in the book, while he (both versions) is such an interesting character. And yes, it wa
Jan 11, 2017 Fabian rated it liked it
Is it audacious to say that Mr. Douglas Adams is truly hit or miss?

Yes. (Well, & not truly "audacious"...)

Good. Here is a fun (and I mean FUN) book, rife with what is absurd and comical in certain sciences that dictate what the world is--I know my math teacher in high school was mad about him. And it does seem as though there is an intended niche audience already built for this type of literature: more literary than, say, Piers Anthony but not character-driven, nor truly dearly dramatic. The
Lubinka Dimitrova
The classic, beloved, brilliant, wacky Douglas Adams, with his penchant for paradoxes and meaningful nonsense and his totally absurd humor. It would be hard for me to chose what I loved most from this book, but I think it was the decision-making program that allows you to justify practically any outcome by back-tracing from the desired result - that could come quite handy, no?
But apart from all this, the book is quite well thought out, with a self-consistent detective story and an imaginitive an
Sep 17, 2012 David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I love this book. I love it far, far more than is in any way reasonable. It is possibly Douglas Adams' strangest work, and it is far and away my favorite. It makes almost no sense unless you read it twice or more. And a good knowledge of the content and composition of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Kubla Khan and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is essentially required to understand many of the jokes and much of the plot.

Because, as it turns out, the linchpin upon which history turns, upon which depen
P. Aaron Potter
It's all about the couch.

Allow me to elucidate. Doug Adams book. Funny? Sure. Satirical? Check. But would you have guessed intricately plotted?

Adams, who practically invented the vein of British literary humor now being minted hand-over-fist by Terry Pratchett, is in fine form with this novel, his major work outside the Hitchhiker's universe. We get the same bumbling protaginsts, the gently affable quasi-villain, the apocalyptic-threat-which-is-not-a-threat, the deft one-sentence-paragraph narra
Scarlet Cameo
Sep 10, 2016 Scarlet Cameo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rc-16
Lectura con el grupo 221 b Baker street

Falta de ritmo, largos tramos aburridos, personajes muy poco interesantes, pasajes largos desconectados casi por completo de la trama principal y un misterio falto de elementos para interesar al lector son la formula para el desastre de este libro.

En la ficción hay algunos recursos que son díficiles de trabajar, a mi parecer uno de los más complicados son los viajes en el tiempo, no importa cuanto humor le imprimas, y vaya que Adams le pone mucho, este pue
Jan 21, 2011 Nikki rated it liked it
One of the most annoying things about reading the Kindle edition of this book was the fact that popular highlights show up and you can't turn them off, at least not easily. It drove me mad. It was inevitably the parts that you'd pick out as funny for yourself, not anything surprisingly good...

Anyway, I grew up with Douglas Adams' work in the background, on the radio while we ate or while me and my sister played after dinner and my dad tried to relax. He's a big Douglas Adams fan, though he stick
I read the prologue in a bookstore when it came out in 1987 and had to have it immediately. Adams just has a way with words that produces great comedy and irony.

This is a wacky romp with so many plotlines and ideas, very few authors would be able to tie it all together. But Adams does it with style and humor, and you will be left with a true awe of "the interconnectedness of all things".

Reread 1/30/2014: Just as brilliant as I remember. I actually had forgotten that some of the themes regarding
Aug 06, 2007 Rory rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: British comedy fans
I recently re-read Dirk Gently, since the first time I read it was in the seventh or eighth grade, and so I really didn't remember much of it. I must say it is absolutely fantastic. It is one of the few books which as I read it I was imagining what you could do for a film version. I think it would be a fantastic work to bring to the big screen, particularly after the modest success of Hitchhiker's...

That said, I love Douglas Adams. The man was a genius at creating characters, and the Gently seri
Jun 29, 2007 Jon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Douglas Adams fans
Adams' first fiction foray into a world other than the one(s) created for the Hitchhiker's Trilogy is a treat: a detective story filled with the same bizarre happenings and twists, described and narrated in Adams' inimitable comedic style. Unlike the Hitchhiker's books, however, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency was written to be a stand-alone story, with a definite beginning, middle, and end. In many ways, this was Adams' first attempt at writing a proper novel--and he succeeds wildly. I ...more
Probably 3.5 stars for this one.

As usual, I quite enjoyed Adams's humor and brilliance, but this one, to me, isn't his best work. It seemed rather... erratic in the beginning and then a bit hurried at the end. It was very speculative, and very contemplative and assumed that the reader (or in my case, listener) was keeping right up, but I don't fault Adams for that. I don't want the book to dumb anything down for me. Although, if it dumbs things down for a character in the book, that's perfectly
Erma Talamante
Dec 05, 2015 Erma Talamante rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
A confusing story that wraps up toward the end, but isn't that just like life? You can't make heads or tails of what's happening until towards the end. And by then, it's too late. But the beauty of a book, is you can go back and read it all over again.

The individuals involved - Reg, Richard, Gordon, Susan, and Michael - all have roles to play in a wildly complicated mystery that pre-dates human life - in fact all life on the planet, and it takes Dirk Gently, aka Svlad Cjelli, to solve it, with
Not as light as the early Hitchhiker books this book is a lot heavier and grimmer though the humour of Douglas Adams shines through from time to time. Written with all the confusion I expect from his work this an interesting, twisted story. I can't say I enjoyed it as much as the Hitchhiker books but it wasn't too bad.
Aug 13, 2014 Josh rated it it was amazing
Shelves: laffs
Inexcusably unread for 37.5 years, remedied over a couple of days at the beach.
May 28, 2011 ♥Xeni♥ rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all sci-fi fans... and humor fans... and paradox fans!
What did I think? Hmm... I thought that this book was amazing. Mainly because I totally sync with the author's writing style, but also due to the plot, the characters and the subject matters he deals with in this book!

I saved so many quotes to my iPhone while reading this... my poor Notes app is overfilling! But let's not get ahead of ourselves. First off, Adams is just a genius writer. I do believe that everyone can agree with that sentiment. His Hitch Hicker's Guide to the Galaxy series is on
Jose Monarrez
Aug 18, 2016 Jose Monarrez rated it it was ok
2 estrellas... no se, nunca me "engancho" la historia

“Let's think the unthinkable, let's do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.”

¿No les ha tocado que están en una reunión con amigos y se ponen a recordar una historia entre todos, para contársela a un invitado, pero como cada quien tiene su visión, todos terminan hablando de las anécdotas y nunca llegan al punto de la historia? eso es lo que siento que pasa con Dougals Adams
Jul 07, 2015 F.R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ll be honest with you, I’m not particularly fond of ‘The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ novel. The first radio series I love, but the novel fails for me because the best bits in it are just taken from the radio series (which, of course, the novel is an adaptation of) and it doesn’t have a proper bloody ending. As a teen I greatly preferred the world of Dirk Gently, and on re-reading the first of those novels – having forgotten pretty much everything which takes place between its covers – I ...more
Mar 23, 2011 Myles rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, mystery, humor, the-list, c20th
I wish I could say I enjoyed this more, but reading it reminded me of all the reasons why the Hitchhikers series, though good, never felt like enough. And not in a good way. A lot of that has to do with the serial nature of his writings, Adams never really ended his books and stories, and when he did have an Actual Occurrence he didn't hesitate to change it all back. Earth destroyed? No it wasn't!

He's a clever and funny writer; he comes up with the most absurd similes and characters imaginable a
Jun 25, 2015 Stacia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: europe, 2015
Smart, mind-twisty, & fun. Just a really enjoyable book to read! I enjoyed this one much more than Hitchhiker's Guide. (I know that's sacrilege in some circles, but there you have it.) Hitchhiker's Guide didn't live up to the hype, imo, while this one seems to be an under-appreciated gem. Recommended.
হাঁটুপানির জলদস্যু
ডগলাস অযাডামসের গদযশৈলী খুবই চমৎকার। কাহিনীর নতুন একটা অংশ শুরু করার ভঙগিটা উপভোগয। গলপের মোচড়গুলো উপভোগয ছিলো। সাড়ে তিন। ...more
Dec 23, 2009 Ugh rated it really liked it
I hadn't read any Douglas Adams before. The first few chapters, I thought "This writing isn't all that great, and I'm not sure what's going on", and that was about that. Then, after a few chapters, I started to be charmed a little, and the plot started to suck me in. For the first half of the book, that's pretty much where I remained: fairly interested and occasionally amused. Then, around halfway through, things started coming together, and I realised that although Adams may not have been among ...more
Ismael Galvan
Dec 24, 2013 Ismael Galvan rated it really liked it
Weird and weird and British and weird. That's Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective. I just finished Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and needed a second helping of Douglas Adams's zany imagination. I looked up what other works he's done and was like, "Holy @%*! Batman, Adams wrote a detective novel!" A trip to the book store later, I held Dirk Gently in my hands.

The beginning has a slow start up. I kept waiting for a story to form. The scenes were nice but where was the plot? And where the hell is t
Mar 26, 2016 Luisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kind of crazy... but a fun read nonetheless. Douglas Adams has a way of writing nonsensical things in a way that makes them amusing, but this in no way compares go the wonderfully entertaining Hitchhikers series. Richard is not really a character that I loved. Dirk thinks too highly of himself and the final solution seemed too simple and easy in my opinion. However, Reg is an adorable old man, even if a little loony.
I guess the ending really felt like a bit of a let down after I had found all of
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Douglas Noël Adams was an English author, comic radio dramatist, and musician. He is best known as the author of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. Hitchhiker's began on radio, and developed into a "trilogy" of five books (which sold more than fifteen million copies during his lifetime) as well as a television series, a comic book series, a computer game, and a feature film that was comp ...more
More about Douglas Adams...

Other Books in the Series

Dirk Gently (3 books)
  • The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (Dirk Gently, #2)
  • The Salmon of Doubt (Dirk Gently, #3)

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“Let's think the unthinkable, let's do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.” 3226 likes
“Don't you understand that we need to be childish in order to understand? Only a child sees things with perfect clarity, because it hasn't developed all those filters which prevent us from seeing things that we don't expect to see.” 731 likes
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