Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (Dirk Gently, #1)

By Douglas Adams

Rating: 3 stars

Richard MacDuff is a programmer for Gordon Way’s software company, who made a spreadsheet that could turn company accounts into music. He’s currently preoccupied with trying to figure out how to move the sofa stuck on his stairs which his models say is quite impossible. Gordon Way himself is dead, thanks to a misunderstanding with an Electric Monk and what all this has to do with anything and especially professor Reg Chronotis is something that’s up to the eponymous holistic detective to figure out.

This is an enjoyable if somewhat odd book. The titular character doesn’t actually appear until almost half way through, and all the way through the book, Adams’ love of all things technological, and especially Apple, shines. The humour is more subtle than, say, The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; more of the wry smile variety than the laugh out loud variety. The book takes major plot points from the Doctor Who stories City of Death and the (untransmitted) Shada. Although I have read it before, I had no real memories of it from then, and I’ve now seen both the above Who stories (the latter in the form of a BBC animated webcast) and the similarities were obvious, meaning I could more or less work out the plot from fairly early on.

This is mostly a four-star book, but it loses a star for, what I found to be, a needlessly obscure resolution to the final act. I thought I had more or less figured out what happened, but had to look up the Wikipedia article to confirm it. I appreciate that an author doesn’t necessarily want to deconstruct everything, but a few more clues would have been nice.

Book details

ISBN: 9780330301626
Publisher: Pan Books
Year of publication: 1987

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