Created by Douglas Adams (1952-2001)
Yup, that Douglas Adams.
So now he's writing about trenchcoats, fedoras, smoky jazz, and femmes fatales?
Even in an era of maverick and increasingly non-traditional PI's, DIRK GENTLY defies description. He's the shabby proprietor of a "Holistic Detective Agency", and his main tools include logic, illogic, coincidence, leaps of faith, his unshakeable belief in the interconnectedness of things, and what I can only describe as contrarian psychic powers. Thus armed, he finds missing cats, explains mysteriously exploding airline counters, does the occasional bit of legwork on behalf of pagan deities, and, oh yes, with the aid of sidekick Richard Macduff, saves the human race from extinction every now and then. (His greatest contribution to Western civilization, or at least to English lit majors, is that he manages to find an actual explanation of Coleridge's "Kubla Khan." I really wish I'd caught up with these books before I finished college.
The books' plots, such as they are, are fun--but as ever, Adams' true strength lies in his digressive and hilarious riffs on, well, just about everything. If you want actual linear plot movement, this probably isn't the place to look. They're well worth a search, though, if you're after a refreshing change of pace from traditional P.I. fare.
Author Douglas Adams died unexpectedly in 2001, but the legend lives on. In 2002 there was a new Adams collection called The Salmon Of Doubt, which featured (among other things) a story fragment that's the beginning of a third (and now-never-to-be-completed) Dirk Gently novel. This story fragment (from which the collection takes its title) relates a case in which Dirk becomes certain he's been hired by a client who:
This makes Dirk's investigation a trifle complicated, but the semi-intrepid Gently has never been one to let a few odd circumstances get in the way of his holistic detecting...
Sadly, just as the loopy narrative seems to be taking off, it comes to an abrupt halt. Adams fans will want to check it out, of course, but newcomers will probably get more bang for their buck by checking out Adams' other works first. (That's my opinion, anyway....)
In 2010, the producers of the BBC's acclaimed Sherlock (a sly revising of Doyle's great detective) decided to "do" Adams' holistic private eye. The result may be a little skimpy on the deeper philosophical insights of the novels, but they sure nail the freewheeling goofiness, having great fun with the characters. Try imagining Sherlock as run through the Monty Python meat grinder and you're almost there. Alas, they only made three episoes.
2015-16 saw a serious expansion of the Dirkiverse.
IDW Comics launched a string of mini-series, dispatching our man Gently to such exotic locales as San Diego, Africa and his own past. Presumably he brought his own towels.
But the on-going comic series was just the first salvo, and was soon followed by a stage play and another TV series, this one starring Samuel Barnett as Dirk, with Elijah Wood as his reluctant assistant Todd.
-- opening, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
Originally intended to be three series of six episodes each and was to include adaptations of The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul and the unfinished The Salmon of Doubt, but Dirk Maggs parted company with the production company, and the project was never completed.
The pilot was included in the Series One DVD set.
COMIC BOOK COLLECTIONS & GRAPHIC NOVELS
Rounds up the first two stand-alone series, "The Interconnectedness of All Kings," and "A Spoon Too Short." Plus a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the BBC America show.
So far apparently unproduced, but available to read and perform worldwide.
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