Adams, Douglas—The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

If you’ve ever read anything from Douglas Adams’s immensely popular “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series, you are probably already well-aware of what to expect from his other books.

Adam’s 1988 novel, “The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul,” is actually the second book in his “other” series—the first being “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.” But “Tea-Time” stands well on its own, and I thoroughly enjoyed it despite having never read the first book.

Kate Schechter, a New Yorker transplanted to London, has a bizarre run-in with a mysterious man at Heathrow Airport who disappears in a massive explosion moments later. The ball of flame destroys the terminal, but somehow causes nothing more than several minor injuries. Meanwhile, holistic detective Dirk Gently’s new client turns up with his severed head rotating on a turntable.

These seemingly disconnected events lead Kate and Dirk on absolutely insane adventures in search of answers. From insane asylums to messy homes to Valhalla—home of the Nordic gods—this book is not believable in the least, but it is absolutely hilarious.

There are few things as pleasurable as Douglas Adams’s flawless wit, and it is fully present in this short novel. “The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul” is no literary masterpiece, but it is well written, original, and worth the read. Anybody with a functional sense of humor will really enjoy this book, although it falls slightly short of the bar that Adams set so high with “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

4 out of 5 stars.

Scott Bradford has been putting his opinions on his website since 1995—before most people knew what a website was. He has been a professional web developer in the public- and private-sector for over twenty years. He is an independent constitutional conservative who believes in human rights and limited government, and a Catholic Christian whose beliefs are summarized in the Nicene Creed. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from George Mason University. He loves Pink Floyd and can play the bass guitar . . . sort-of. He’s a husband, pet lover, amateur radio operator, and classic AMC/Jeep enthusiast.