Svlad Cjelli. Popularly known as Dirk, though, again, “popular” was hardly right. Notorious, certainly; sought after, endlessly speculated about, those too were true. But popular? Only in the sense that a serious accident on the motorway might be popular– everyone slows down to have a good look, but no one will get too close to the flames. Infamous was more like it. Svlad Cjelli, infamously known as Dirk.

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More from Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

So after a hectic week of believing that war was peace, that good was bad, that the moon was made of blue cheese, and that God needed a lot of money sent to a certain box number, the Monk started to believe that thirty-five percent of all tables were hermaphrodites, and then broke down.

Dirk, please, if you would. I prefer it. It has more of a sort of Scottish dagger feel to it.

It’s all right, it’s just a horse in the bathroom.

“Now, that I didn’t know,” said Reg. “Your past has murkier things in it than I dreamed possible. A quality, I might add, that it shares with this soup.”

Tall. Tall and absurdly thin. And good natured. A bit like a preying mantis that doesn’t prey – A non-preying mantis if you like. A sort of genial mantis that’s given up preying and taken up tennis instead.