Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams

Review By Tejas Jayasheel

A few authors would have the special ability to think beyond the normal action packed, adrenaline pumping thrillers and turn it into an utterly hilarious and morbid comedy thriller. Douglas Adams is one such author.

Well known for his notable books like Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy, Doctor Who serial scripts etc., he made geeks go gaga over the phrases like “the answer is 42” and “thanks for all the fish”. However there’s another series of books that are so much better than the Hitchhiker’s but for some unknown reasons, not as famous as the latter.

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – the first book in the series Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, is a thriller that introduces ghosts, time machines and many more concepts into our normal action packed science fiction. The hero himself who apparently has a strange name which can compete easily with other tongue twisters, goes like Svlad Cjelly but to reader’s relief, he changes his name to Dirk Gently which everyone tends to use including the characters in the book except sergeant Gilks who seems to prefer Cjelly. The plot always revolves around the concept that Dirk is concerned about the fundamental interconnectedness of all the things, which at the end of the book is illustrated in a beautiful way.

The humor readily flows into the story with an ease that seems quite remarkable only when you try to explain a funny scenario to the person next to you. It has to be shared because it is genuinely funny but apart from a shocked, horror-stricken or confused face you are not advised to expect anything else. This holds true only for human beings who are not simultaneously reading the book with you because the humor is based on the story and character description underneath it. Anyone else will not be able to share the same enthusiasm though you read a paragraph to them.

“Away up in the high canopy of the trees an utterly extraordinary thought would suddenly strike a bird, and it would go flapping wildly through the branches and settle at last different and altogether better tree where it would sit and consider things again more calmly until the same thought came along and struck it again, or it was time to eat.”

It is such sentences which appear throughout the book, or throughout the series that makes Douglas Adams books harder to put down. The tiniest detail that you seem to have neglected or discarded as unimportant would turn into a major twist and it makes you feel that you possibly might have missed something. This would prompt you to re read it only to uncover even more twists that were discarded at the first try. It is this quality that etches a mark in your head and you always remember or re visit the thoughts to figure out something that you missed again.

It is hard to judge a novel of this awesomeness without quoting entire chapters from the book. And this is the humble effort of the reader to achieve the impossible. Oh! and before I conclude, just remember a special entry in Dirk’s bill to Ms.Sauskind for finding her missing cat when you do read it. It goes something like ‘trip to Bahamas/Bermuda triangle’ to investigate the interconnectedness of a cat missing from London. We are pretty sure you would be smiling from ear to ear when you finally put down the book.