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Holding
Cover of Holding
Holding
A Novel
Borrow Borrow
A New York Times Bestseller

From Graham Norton—the BAFTA-award-winning and hugely popular BBC America television host—comes a charming debut novel set in an idyllic Irish village where a bumbling investigator has to sort through decades of gossip and secrets to solve a mysterious crime. "With its tale of provincial life, gimlet-eyed spinsters, and thwarted love...it feels almost like a Miss Marple mystery written by Colm Tóibín" (New York Times).
The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama, and yet its inhabitants are troubled: Sergeant P.J. Collins hasn't always been this overweight; Brid Riordan, a mother of two, 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—suspected to be those of Tommy Burke, a former lover of both Brid and Evelyn—are discovered on an old farm, the village's dark past begins to unravel. As a frustrated P.J. struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his professional life, he unearths a community's worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regrets.

Darkly comic, at times profoundly sad, and "especially inviting because of its tongue-in-cheek wit" (Kirkus Reviews), Holding is a masterful debut. Graham Norton employs his acerbic humor to breathe life into a host of lovable characters, and explore—with searing honesty—the complexities and contradictions that make us human.
A New York Times Bestseller

From Graham Norton—the BAFTA-award-winning and hugely popular BBC America television host—comes a charming debut novel set in an idyllic Irish village where a bumbling investigator has to sort through decades of gossip and secrets to solve a mysterious crime. "With its tale of provincial life, gimlet-eyed spinsters, and thwarted love...it feels almost like a Miss Marple mystery written by Colm Tóibín" (New York Times).
The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama, and yet its inhabitants are troubled: Sergeant P.J. Collins hasn't always been this overweight; Brid Riordan, a mother of two, 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—suspected to be those of Tommy Burke, a former lover of both Brid and Evelyn—are discovered on an old farm, the village's dark past begins to unravel. As a frustrated P.J. struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his professional life, he unearths a community's worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regrets.

Darkly comic, at times profoundly sad, and "especially inviting because of its tongue-in-cheek wit" (Kirkus Reviews), Holding is a masterful debut. Graham Norton employs his acerbic humor to breathe life into a host of lovable characters, and explore—with searing honesty—the complexities and contradictions that make us human.
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About the Author-
  • Graham Norton is the award-winning host of The Graham Norton Show, one of the most popular programs on BBC America. He is the author of the bestselling memoirs So Me and The Life and Loves of a He Devil. He lives in London and is the author of the novels Holding and A Keeper.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 29, 2017
    British TV personality Norton (So Me, a memoir) makes his fiction debut with a wistful, atmospheric mystery starring Sgt. Patrick James “PJ” Collins, the solitary, overweight keeper of the peace in the backwater town of Duneen, Ireland. Nothing exciting ever happens in Duneen—until the day the crew at a housing development under construction unearths human bones. The forensic team from Cork confirms the remains are of a young adult male who died of a blow to the head. Could the bones belong to Tommy Burke, who disappeared from Duneen 20 years earlier, after his romantic triangle with two local girls came to a bad end? The story around town is that someone saw Tommy board a bus to head for London, but no one has seen or heard from him since. As the investigation unfolds, nothing is as it first appears. For some, hearts broken long ago have not healed, while other lonely, forgotten people have carried on as best they can. PJ doesn’t believe in happy endings, but, as this winning tale shows, sometimes things work themselves out in ways no one could have imagined.

  • Kirkus

    June 15, 2017
    A quiet Irish town is rocked by the discovery of a body.Human remains are found buried at a construction site in Duneen, Ireland, propelling the bored Sgt. PJ Collins into bumbling, earnest action. Questions immediately arise as to whether the body might belong to Tommy Burke, who was thought to have run off to England two decades ago. PJ doesn't have much experience with women--"he had managed to get through decades of adulthood without emotional attachment"--and somehow his work on the case leads him to quickly develop inappropriate relationships with Evelyn Ross and Brid Riordan, two women who had once fought over Tommy. As the investigation continues, these women and their families are forced to confront long-buried secrets and betrayals. Evelyn realizes her life has slipped away, as she has lived with her two sisters for the past 20 years waiting for Tommy to return, whereas Brid begins to reconsider her loveless marriage after recalling her less-than-thrilling engagement to Tommy. PJ is infused with a new sense of professional energy by the case, but he's wary of becoming romantically involved with either of his suspects even as he's drawn further into a potential love triangle. U.K. talk show host Norton's debut novel is a mystery laced with a sense of humor, from the pointed observations Duneen's residents make about each other to PJ's relationship with his housekeeper, Mrs Meany, who keeps him amply supplied with food. The novel opens with a funny riff on Jane Austen: "It was widely accepted by the residents of Duneen that, should a crime be committed and Sergeant Collins managed to apprehend the culprit, it would be very unlikely that the arrest had involved a pursuit on foot." Yet the narrative also deepens into moments of unexpected sadness and insight, as PJ begins to understand the losses women in the village have kept quiet about for years. Norton's work is appealing precisely because the story has a layer of gravity, and it is ultimately an enjoyable character study rather than a murder mystery shrouded in darkness. A bright, quick-paced novel, especially inviting because of its tongue-in-cheek wit.

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    July 1, 2017

    Norton's first novel is a thoroughly enjoyable cozy mystery set in the Irish village of Duneen. Life there is fairly dull, enlivened only by gossip, until the day human bones are unearthed on an old farm--possibly the remains of Tommy Burke, who disappeared 26 years ago. Sgt. PJ Collins finally has a real criminal case. He even has two prime suspects in Brid Riordan, Tommy's former fiancee, and Evelyn Ross, who believes herself to be Tommy's one true love. But PJ does not expect is to echo that old love triangle when his investigation sparks a bit of romance with his suspects. As PJ endeavors to solve the case, dark secrets and tragedies of the past are uncovered, changing life in Duneen forever. British comedian Norton is particularly skilled at conveying the essence of his characters, making the reader truly care about them. The village of Duneen seems so real that you can almost hear the Irish lilt, taste the tea always on offer, and smell the fresh country air. VERDICT Fans of the cozy mysteries of Alan Bradley and Alexander McCall Smith will love this debut by The Graham Norton Show star and clamor for more tales of Duneen.--Barbara Clark-Greene, Westerly, RI

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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