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Holding by Graham Norton

Book Blurb

The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama; and yet its inhabitants are troubled. Sergeant PJ Collins hasn’t always been this overweight; mother of­ two Brid Riordan hasn’t always been an alcoholic; and elegant Evelyn Ross hasn’t always felt that her life was a a total waste.

So when human remains are discovered on an old farm, suspected to be that of Tommy Burke – a former­ love of both Brid and Evelyn – the village’s dark past begins to unravel. As the frustrated PJ struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his life, he unearths a community’s worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regret.

Available to pre order here

My review

Mr Norton is a brave man. In the style of many public figures before him he has decided to trod that well worn path of seeing if he can write a book. We all know what a good comedian he is, in addition to agony uncle, radio broadcaster – the list is seemingly endless but, as any writer will tell you, this writing lark is harder than it looks. HOLDING, his first work of fiction even now is being examined by many of the great and good book reviewers but actually what’s it really like? Is it worth the £9.99 asking price or should GN stick to what he’s known to be good at? 

So what are you getting for your money? You’re getting a murder mystery set in the fictional Irish village of Duneen, where all isn’t what it seems.  The characterisations are well thought out from someone with a good observational eye, but given the author that’s to be expected. What’s unusual is the way he has been able to transfer something he obviously uses as a comedian on to the blank page. His humour is there, but it’s subtle, not the in your face laugh out loud type. There’s sex, but not of the type to upset your granny. There’s swear words, but from a race that interchanges the  Irish verb ‘to see’ with a derivative of the F word  it’s to be expected, and ‘Gobshite’  is such a fantastic term! 

This is a good solid read. It’s not Chekhov, but then again it’s not professing to be. It’s actually refreshing to read something that isn’t an Irish parody. The characters are believable. We’ve all met the Mrs Meany type with the balloon pursed lips, in addition to the Garda with more hang ups than the average washing line. I did sort of work out what was happening half way through, but there were still surprises to be had. Like any well plotted mystery the clues are there, and there’s no annoying  ‘The butler did it’ type reveal in the last couple of pages. 

So, surprisingly Ireland has a new writer to boast about – but not really all that surprising. If GN ever decides to hang up his  mike there’s another role for the taking. I look forward to what he’ll come up with next.


Thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for the ARC via NetGalley 


Hello and Welcome, hope you enjoy Jenny

5 thoughts on “Holding by Graham Norton

    1. It’s had various reviews but I really think GN has something to offer as a writer. I know you like fast passed thrillers Jo and this isn’t that but it’s got a charm all of its own. I probably see it in a different light as I’m a similar age to him and was born down the road so to speak so can associate with his small village characterisations

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I know what you mean, sometimes things just strike a chord with you and you can relate to an author or a plot because of some personal experiences. I may try this still as it sounds quite intriguing and I like books that are getting mixed reviews!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I don’t think the cover does the book justice. To me, the image looks like an alien spacecraft – even when I knew the story was about a small Irish village! The colours, too, are insipid, but it won’t make any difference to me because I love Graham Norton’s humour and look forward to reading Holding.


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