I know, I know. When you think of Douglas Adams, you think of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Dr. Who, not exactly detective fiction. Although Adams is best known for these works, he also wrote a series of novels based on the character Dirk Gently.
Though these seminal works aren’t specifically detective books, it could be argued that there was a bit of mystery and whodunnit wrapped up in each one of them.
In between Adams’s first trip to Madagascar with Mark Carwardine in 1985, and their series of travels that formed the basis for the radio series and non-fiction book Last Chance to See, Adams wrote two other novels with a new cast of characters. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency was first published in 1987, and was described by its author as “a kind of ghost-horror-detective-time-travel-romantic-comedy-epic, mainly concerned with mud, music and quantum mechanics”. It was derived from two Doctor Who serials Adams had written.
A sequel novel, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, was published a year later. This was an entirely original work, Adams’s first since So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish. After the book tour, Adams set off on his round-the-world excursion which supplied him with the material for Last Chance to See.