I read Douglas Adams’ “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” some time ago but forgot most of it, and started re-reading it recently when I learnt that a BBC Four adaptation was in the works. This scene, in which Gently defends the bill he has sent a client for continuing after seven years to search for her missing cat, amused me.

“Well perhaps,” continued Dirk to Mrs. Sauskind, “you could just run over any of the areas in the bill that cause you difficulty. Just the broader areas. […] Yes, expenses were, well, expensive in the Bahamas Mrs. Sauskind, it is in the nature of expenses to be so, hence the name. […] Of course I will explain to you again why the trip to the Bahamas was so vitally necessary,” said Dirk Gently soothingly. “Nothing could give me greater pleasure. I believe, as you know, Mrs. Sauskind, in the fundamental interconnectedness of all things. Furthermore I have plotted and triangulated the vectors of interconnectedness of all things and traced them to a beach in Bermuda which it is therefore necessary for me to visit from time to time in the course of my investigations. I wish it were not the case since, sadly, I am allergic to both the sun and rum punches, but then we all have our crosses to bear, do we not, Mrs. Sauskind?” A babble seemed to break out from the telephone. “You sadden me, Mrs. Sauskind. I wish I could find it in my heart to tell you that I find your scepticism rewarding and invigorating, but with the best will in the world I cannot. I am drained by it, Mrs. Sauskind, drained. I think you will find an item in the bill to that effect. Let me see.” He picked up a flimsy carbon copy lying near him. “‘Detecting and triangulating the vectors of interconnectedness of all things, one hundred and fifty pounds.’ We’ve dealt with that. ‘Tracing same to beach on Bahamas, fare and accommodation’. A mere fifteen hundred. The accommodation was, of course, distressingly modest. Ah yes, here we are, “Struggling on in the face of draining scepticism from client, drinks – three hundred and twenty-seven pounds fifty.'”


4 thoughts on “Invoice

  1. jagosaurus September 1, 2010 / 1:30 pm

    I love the Dirk Gently books as much as the Hitchhiker’s Guide books, and this scene also cracks me up.

    I’m feeling a bit light-headed and giddy about the adaptation.


    • simonlitton September 1, 2010 / 1:34 pm

      This follow-up article notes that they’re using the character but creating a new plot. Casting will be a key concern, I imagine.


  2. Mondraussie September 1, 2010 / 10:58 pm

    Like you, it’s a long time since I’ve read Dirk gently but now you’ve got me inspired to go and search it out again. I love Douglas Adams! BBC adaptation sounds promising.


  3. Curiositykiller September 22, 2010 / 8:45 pm

    Kudos for sticking around for 4 years! Let’s drink to another 4 years~!!


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