The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul

Missing image
The front cover of the US first hardcover edition of The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul.

The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul is a 1988 science fiction detective novel by Douglas Adams. It is the second book by Adams featuring private detective Dirk Gently. The novel's title is a phrase which appeared in Adams's earlier novel Life, The Universe and Everything, but the novels are not otherwise related.

It features a surreal plot progression, with the characters accepting all sorts of bizarre events as commonplace or at least reasonable. While often billed as comedy, it frequently features humor built around strange situations and repeated themes, one connection it has, rather unsurprisingly, with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in its many incarnations.

Dirk Gently, an alleged "holistic detective", has happened upon what he thinks is a rather comfortable situation. A ridiculously wealthy man in the record industry has retained him, spinning a ludicrous story about being stalked by an eight-foot-tall, green-eyed, scythe-wielding monster. Dirk pretends to understand the man's ravings involving potatoes and a contract coming due; in reality, however, Dirk is musing about what he might do if he actually receives payment for his "services". Get rid of his refrigerator, for one; the seemingly innocuous appliance has become the centerpiece of a dangerous showdown between himself and his cleaning woman. The apparent seriousness of his client's claims becomes clear when Dirk arrives several hours late for an appointment to find a swarm of police around his client's estate. The aforementioned client is found in a room locked from within, his head neatly removed and rotating on a turntable.

Nearly incapacitated by great thudding pangs of guilt, Dirk resolves to belatedly begin taking his now-late client's wild claims seriously. During his investigation, Gently encounters exploding airport check-in counters, the gods of Norse mythology, insulting horoscopes, a sinister nursing home, a rhinophagic eagle, an I Ching calculator, an omnipotent being who gives his powers to a lawyer in exchange for clean linen, and an attractive American woman who enjoys getting angry when she can't get pizza delivered in London.

Preceded by:
Series: Followed by:
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency Dirk Gently series The Salmon of Doubt
fr:Beau comme un aéroport

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