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Cover for Radio Drama of Dirk Gently

Dirk Gently Series in Order: Discover Douglas Adams humorous detective books

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“The term `holistic’ refers to my conviction that what we are concerned with here is the fundamental interconnectedness of all things.”

Dirk Gently is not your ordinary detective. Born Svlad Cjelli, the man bills himself as a “holistic detective”, meaning he uses “the fundamental interconnectedness of all things” to solve crimes. Mostly, Dirk tries to scam money out of his clients while, to his own surprise, solving the case. Also, he didn’t really scam anyone, because it would imply that one of his clients would have paid him.

Created by British writer Douglas Adams, well-known for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Dirk Gently series is a humorous detective series, described by his author as a “thumping good detective-ghost-horror-who dunnit-time travel-romantic-musical-comedy-epic.”

The Dirk Gently franchise includes two and a half books, a comic book series and several adaptations on television, radio and stage.

Dirk Gently Book Series in Order

Cover for Dirk Gently s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (publisher Pan Macmillan) Cover for The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams (publisher Pan Macmillan) Cover for The Salmon of Doubt Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time by Douglas Adams (publisher Pan Macmillan)

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – Dirk Gently has an unshakeable belief in the interconnectedness of all things, but his Holistic Detective Agency mainly succeeds in tracking down missing cats for old ladies. Then Dirk stumbles upon an old friend behaving bizarrely – and he’s drawn into a four-billion-year-old mystery that must be solved if the human race is to avoid immediate extinction.

The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul – When a check-in desk at London’s Heathrow Airport disappears in a ball of orange flame, the event is said to be an act of God. But which god? wonders holistic detective Dirk Gently. And how is this connected to Dirk’s battle with his cleaning lady over his filthy refrigerator…or to the murder of his latest client? Or are these events just another stretch of coincidences in the life of the world’s most off-kilter private investigator?

The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time – published posthumously, unfinished. It was intended as a Dirk Gently novel, but the book wasn’t finished at the time of death. Culled posthumously from Adams’s fleet of beloved Macintosh computers, this is a selection of essays, articles, anecdotes, and stories that offers a fascinating and intimate portrait of the multifaceted artist and absurdist wordsmith.

Dirk Gently’s comic books (IDW)

Published between 2015 and 2017 by IDW Publishing, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is a comic book series that can serve as a bridge between the Adams books and the American television series adaptation (by Max Landis).

  • Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: A Spoon Too Short (takes place after The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul)
    → Buy from: Amazon, BookDepository, Wordery
  • Dirk Gently: The Salmon of Doubt (two volumes) (written by the producers of the TV show, with characters from Adams books and from the TV Show. It is a sort of little prequel to the TV show).
    → Buy from: Amazon, BookDepository, Wordery
  • Dirk Gently: The Interconnectedness of All Kings (The first comic book published, but takes place later as Dirk relocates to California).
    → Buy from: Amazon, BookDepository, Wordery

Dirk Gently’s television and radio series

Two television series inspired by Dirk Gently have been produced. Both of them take some inspiration from the novels but don’t adapt directly.

  • Dirk Gently (TV series, 2010-2012)
    Buy DVD from Amazon.
    Created by Howard Overman. With Stephen Mangan as holistic detective Dirk Gently and Darren Boyd as his sidekick Richard MacDuff. Only four episodes.
  • Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (TV series, 2016-2017)
    Buy DVD from Amazon.
    Created by Max Landis for BBC America. With Samuel Barnett as Dirk Gently and Elijah Wood as his sidekick Todd Brotzman. Two seasons, 18 episodes. Beware, it’s pretty far removed from the books.

For a more faithful adaptation of Dirk Gently, turn your attention towards the BBC Radio 4 drama featuring Harry Enfield as Dirk, Billy Boyd as Richard, Olivia Colman as Janice, Jim Carter as Gilks, and Laurel Lefkow as Kate Schechter. Created by Dirk Maggs, two series have been made, based on the first two novels.

Dirk Gently Series Quotes

From Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency:

“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.”

“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.”

“What I mean is that if you really want to understand something, the best way is to try and explain it to someone else. That forces you to sort it out in your own mind. And the more slow and dim-witted your pupil, the more you have to break things down into more and more simple ideas. And that’s really the essence of programming. By the time you’ve sorted out a complicated idea
into little steps that even a stupid machine can deal with, you’ve certainly learned something about it yourself. The teacher usually learns more than the pupil. Isn’t that true?”

“In the great debate that has raged for centuries about what, if anything, happens to you after death, be it heaven, hell, purgatory or extinction, one thing has never been in doubt – that you would at least know the answer when you were dead.”

From The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul:

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”

“There are some people you like immediately, some whom you think you might learn to like in the fullness of time, and some that you simply want to push away from you with a sharp stick.”

“The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it which the merely improbable lacks.”

“Words used carelessly, as if they did not matter in any serious way, often allowed otherwise well-guarded truths to seep through.”

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