"Holistic detective" Dirk Gently has found a great gig. He's been hired by a wealthy man in the record industry who claims quite a story—a seven-foot-tall, green-eyed, scythe-wielding monster is on his tail. Dirk pretends to understand the man's ravings involving potatoes and a contract signed in blood coming due; when in reality, he is absorbed in thought...what might he do if he actually receives payment for his "services"—he could get rid of the refrigerator, which is so filthy inside that it has become the centerpiece of a showdown between himself and his cleaning woman. Dirk only comes to realize the man was truly in dire straights when he arrives late for a meeting at the man's estate. The perimeter is swarming with police and inside, in a heavily barricaded room, lies his client with his head neatly removed and spinning several feet away on a turntable. Feeling guilty about not taking the guy seriously, Dirk stays on the case and confronts exploding airport check-in counters, the gods of Norse mythology, insulting horoscopes, a sinister nursing home, an I Ching calculator, an omnipotent being who gives his powers to a lawyer and an advertising executive (in exchange for clean linen), and an attractive American woman who gets angry when she can't get pizza delivered in London.