Thursday, 22 December 2016

Holding by Graham Norton

Yes it is he: Graham Norton from your Friday night TV viewing, not a celebrity interview in sight though!

This is Norton's first novel, and I must admit to being a little hesitant. I am delighted to report that Holding is both entertaining and well written; it seems a little unfair to be so multi-talented but there you go. Norton understands people, and his voice comes through in the charming, funny and wounded characters he creates.

And so to the story. Duneen is a tiny west Ireland village; it has no cell phone coverage, everyone knows everyone and nothing much happens. The local policeman PJ Collins lives in quiet desperation, loves to eat and is so unfit he 'breaks into a sweat walking up for communion'.

When a land development unearths a human body, PJ is jolted into action amidst much village speculation. Years earlier farm owner Tommy Burke had fled the farm after a relationship break up with Evelyn Ross; whom he jilted when he became engaged to Brid Riordon. The elegant Evelyn now lives a quiet life with her unmarried sisters, while Brid is unhappily married and finding solace in a bottle.

As the big police guns from the city move in to help solve the cold case; PJ finds himself drawn to both Evelyn and Brid, which is somewhat awkward as they are both prime suspects. Other villager’s secrets slowly emerge building tension towards a suitable thrilling conclusion.

Holding has been described as a cosy mystery which it perhaps is, but it is more than that as well; the characters have the warmth and pathos of people living in a close community who have had disappointments in life which have haunted them.

Recommended for a great holiday read.

Reviewed by Katrina

Catalogue link: Holding by Graham Norton

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