Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective AgencyDirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
is a novel
by Douglas Adams
. It is described on its jacket as "a ghost-horror-detective-time travel-romantic comedy epic."
Warning: Spoilers follow
Dirk Gently Holistic Detective Agency has been compared to Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid because Dirk Gently is actually based on the "fundamental interconnectedness of all things"—which is virtually the same thing as the chaos theory. Many details appear superfluous, but are actually integral to the plot.
- Dirk Gently, the perpetually broke operator of the title detective agency that operates based on the "fundamental interconnectedness of all things." He specializes in missing cats and messy divorces. Dirk created rumors about clairvoyant abilities by vigorously denying that he had any.
- Richard MacDuff, a young software engineer working for WayForward Technologies II, owned by Gordon Way. His Anthem software, which converts corporate accounts into music, was extremely popular. A sofa is irreversibly stuck on the staircase to his apartment, and according to his simulations, there was no way for it to get there in the first place.
- Reg (Professor Urban Chronotis, the Regius Professor of Chronology), Richard's old college tutor, a college don with no apparent duties, who is "on the older side of completely indeterminate". He has a predisposition for childish conjuring tricks and an extremely bad memory.
- Gordon Way, the owner of WayForward, who is pressuring Richard to complete his behind-schedule software project.
- Susan Way, sister of Gordon Way and professional cellist, and the "specific girl that [Richard is] not married to".
- A malfunctioning Electric Monk from a planet very far from the Earth. "The Electric Monk was a labor-saving device, like a dishwasher or a video recorder. ... Electric Monks believed things for you, thus saving you from what was becoming an increasingly onerous task."
- Michael Wenton-Weakes, child of wealthy parents, whose mother sold his ill-managed magazine, Fathom, to Gordon Way after his father's death. The magazine was the one thing most important to him, and he is determined to get it back.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge, writer of "Kubla Khan". He does not appear as a character per se, but figures into the plot nonetheless. For the sake of the novel, he is made to have attended St. Cedd's College. He said that he transcribed the poem from a dream, but was interrupted before being able to complete the second half of the poem - which contains instructions on destroying life (or, at any rate, terrestrial animal life) on Earth as we know it. According to this book, it was Dirk Gently was the mysterious Man from Porlock.
The story reuses elements from two Doctor Who serials written by Adams, City of Death and the uncompleted Shada.
See also: The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul (sequel), detective fiction