The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul Summary
by Douglas Adams

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The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul Summary

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul is a sequel to the original Dirk Gently novel Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. Gently makes his living as a “holistic” detective, basing his detective work on “the absolute interconnectedness” of all things. This leads to interesting investigative strategies. Gently rejects Sherlock Holmes’s idea that whatever is left after ruling out all impossibilities must be the truth. Instead, Gently insists on not rejecting a possibility merely because of its complete impossibility. His faith in the impossible proves a remarkably successful detection strategy.

Kate Schechter is on her way to Norway to visit a friend. Kate gets delayed in line at the airport behind a large Norse-looking man who has no passport, credit card, or birth certificate. This disregard for red tape makes the bureaucratic check-in girl increasingly inflexible and rude. Kate ends up missing her flight and on her way out of the airport gets rocked by an explosion that causes the check-in girl to vanish mysteriously.

Meanwhile, Dirk Gently has just remembered an appointment. His morning to this point has featured luxurious sleeping, a protracted staring contest with his refrigerator, and wishing he had a rich client—a wish which finally reminds him of his appointment. He hurries, five hours late, to the client who has complained of death threats from a green man with a scythe. When Dirk at long last arrives at his client’s house, he finds police cars surrounding the home and his client sitting in a chair, his severed head spinning on a record turntable. The green man with the scythe appears to have gotten to Dirk’s client before Dirk did.

In the meantime, Kate visits an unusual medical institution, where she looks for the large Norse man who thwarted her plans for a holiday in Norway. She meets a number of patients with strange ailments but cannot locate the man, whom she ultimately discovers to be Thor, the Norse god of thunder. On the way from the hospital, Kate’s car is rear-ended by Dirk, who is following her because he is lost. Dirk gets lost so often he has devised a system in which he follows anyone who seems to know where he or she is going. Dirk maintains that this counterintuitive process usually gets him where he needs to be, though seldom where he thought he was going.

Dirk and Kate realize that their paths have led them both on a collision course with Thor. Kate drives home to find Thor waiting for her; Thor found...

(The entire section is 648 words.)