Holding by [Norton, Graham]

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (6th October 2016)

I love Graham Norton as a chat show host, so I was very intrigued when I noticed he had written a novel. I had no idea what I was expecting, but I can honestly say I have thoroughly enjoyed Holding.

Holding isn’t a fast-paced crime thriller with lots of gory details (like a lot of the books I read). It’s a beautifully written mystery which draws you in from the very beginning. There are wonderful characters, some of whom I loved and others not so much, but all very real.

Sergeant PJ Collins serves the community of a remote Irish village called Duneen. Not much happens in Duneen, but some of it’s residents have their issues. Most are just getting on with life, whilst others are struggling to hold theirs together.

PJ has become somewhat bored with his life and job. He’s unfit and overweight partly thanks to his housekeeper, Mrs Meany, feeding him up. I warmed to Mrs Meany immediately. Her story is heart-breaking.

When human remains are found on an old farm, PJ is faced with the first serious case of his career. As the investigation progresses, more secrets than anticipated are revealed. For some, life in Duneen will never be the same again.

Holding seems to me to have been written with great affection for it’s characters and their stories. It made me smile and brought a tear to my eye. I highly recommend.

I sincerely hope Graham Norton will be writing more fiction in future.

Many thanks to the author and publisher for approving my request on Netgalley.

Buy your copy HERE


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 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.

Darkly comic, touching and at times profoundly sad. Graham Norton employs his acerbic wit to breathe life into a host of loveable characters, and explore – with searing honesty – the complexities and contradictions that make us human.

Graham Norton’s masterful debut is an intelligently crafted story of love, secrets and loss.


Poised and perceptive (Louis Wise the Sunday Times)

Deeply accomplished, with brilliantly observed, entertaining characters and an atmospheric setting (Good Housekeeping)

Heartwarming and observant (Stylist)

Strenuously charming…surprisingly tender (Clare Allfree Metro)

One of the more authentic debuts I’ve read in recent years… A fine novel. (John Boyne The Irish Times)

An undercurrent of black comedy accompanies the ripples that ensue – but with a pathos that makes this deftly plotted story as moving as it is compelling. (Sunday Mirror)

charming…thoughtfully done…highly enjoyable. (the Guardian)

Full of emotion and tense moments. You will be gripped from the first page. (Woman’s Own)

11 thoughts on “Holding by Graham Norton #BookReview @grahnort @HodderBooks

  1. I’ve been seeing this book around various blogs and, without ever looking at it closely assumed it was an autobiography! Having read your review I am now much more interested in the title. Thanks, I am intrigued.

    Liked by 1 person

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