by Douglas Adams
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. This is what Amazon says it is about: "There is a long tradition of Great Detectives, and Dirk Gently does not belong to it. But his search for a missing cat uncovers a ghost, a time traveler, AND the devastating secret of humankind! Detective Gently's bill for saving the human race from extinction: NO CHARGE."
It's kinda about that, but it is not really about that.
Dirk himself doesn't show up until about Chapter 16 and you never get a story from his perspective.
It is really the story of an Electric Monk (a robot whose function is to believe in things very strongly, though not necessarily consistently), a man named Gordon Way, who soon becomes a ghost named Gordon Way, and a guy named Richard, who has girl troubles and is working on some pretty cool software that creates music out of the mathematical representation of every day activities, like the flap of a bird's wing. And the eccentric and forgetful college professor, "Reg," who I think was my absolute favorite!
Those were the characters I cared the most about, and really that is who the story is about. Dirk comes in to be the person who figures stuff out.
And the mystery is not even what you think it is. You expect that they will solve the mystery of who murdered Gordon Way, but it turns out that you kinda already know who did it, and the real mystery is incredibly bewildering, and you are not quite sure how exactly they resolve the situation in the end.
But it is Douglas Adams! He is a comedy genius, with strange and witty situations, delicious turns of phrase, and an astronomical scientific imagination! This was written in 1987, and it was a bagillion times more creatively advanced (science fiction wise) than The Doomsday Book which was written in 1992.
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The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde
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