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Holding

A Novel
Narrated by: Graham Norton
Length: 7 hrs and 26 mins
4 out of 5 stars (1,641 ratings)
Regular price: $17.00
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Publisher's Summary

From Graham Norton, the BAFTA-award-winning Irish television host and author of the "sparkling and impish" (Daily Mail) memoirs The Life and Loves of a He Devil and So Me, 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.

The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama, but when human remains are discovered on an old farm, suspected to be those of Tommy Burke - a former lover of two different inhabitants - the village's dark past begins to unravel. As the frustrated sergeant PJ Collins 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.

In this darkly comic, touching and, at times, heartbreaking novel, perfect for fans of J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy, 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.

©2016 Graham Norton and Hodder & Stoughton (P)2017 Simon and Schuster Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Splendidly delightful

I expected a fun, Irish small-town story from Norton, but was delighted by a marvelous mystery, as well. Embellished with unexpected twists and turns, the Marple-esque plot never slowed or misled with red herrings. Norton’s performance as reader increased my appreciation for his breadth and talent. This is a winner!

23 of 23 people found this review helpful

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  • Myra
  • Pasco, WA, USA
  • 04-01-18

Loved it!

Okay, I will admit that I initially was drawn to this book because I am a huge Graham Norton fan, but was not sure what to expect from a novel. Sorry Graham. Having said that, I don't know why he has be fiddling around with TV all these years when this author was trapped inside!

Holding is well written and builds all characters just enough to keep you going and the narration is AWESOME! A few days later, you will be wondering what the characters have been getting up to since you stopped listening.

78 of 82 people found this review helpful

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excellent mystery in a small town...

I really enjoyed this book. An original mystery in a small town....I haven't heard something like this in a while....

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Pleased!

Very happy finding this novel. Had no idea Graham was a writer. Was looking for something light but interesting and found this book.
Thoroughly enjoyed the story for which Graham narrated it so very well. Not a surprise knowing his comedic and bubbly personality.
Enjoyed every minute of it!

29 of 31 people found this review helpful

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  • Rani
  • Henderson, NV, United States
  • 11-01-17

Sublime, Simply Sublime and Dripping with Cynicism

I love Graham Norton. I loved “The Casual Vacancy.” So how could I not love this book. Then to have Graham narrate it was exquisite.

I loved the story. I loved the twists. Small town happenings that reveal the seedy side of human interaction and dysfunction all wrapped up in a murder mystery. What’s not to love? So well done!

31 of 34 people found this review helpful

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  • Deborah
  • HOUSTON, TX, United States
  • 09-20-17

Very enjoyable

If you could sum up Holding in three words, what would they be?

Old fashioned mystery

What did you like best about this story?

Interesting setting and characters each of whom are totally relatable, Graham Norton is a keen observer of human behavior. For the most part, he avoided the clichés of the modern detective novel such as gory forensics and a flawed but impossibly bright detective who solves the mystery in the last page. It's also a welcome relief from the Scandinavian noir mysteries with their gratuitous sexual violence.

What does Graham Norton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He's a great narrator- he knows how to tell a story in the usual Irish tradition.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No, but I imagine there may be some triggers for overweight people, victims of sexual abuse. As a single woman, I did not care for the depiction of the spinster sisters, but it didn't offend me.

Any additional comments?

I will look for Graham Norton's other books! I understand his next novel will not be a mystery.

29 of 32 people found this review helpful

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Loved this book!

I loved this book. I found it to be an enjoyable and engaging small town mystery. The real treat was the wonderful characters who were both funny and touching. Graham Norton reading the story made it even better.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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I like the Author as a TV Personality

I picked up this title because I saw the author's interview with Stephen Colbert. While I enjoyed it well enough I felt it was missing something. There are plenty of funny scenes and plenty of touching or sad scenes, it got an emotional reaction from me a few times.

I don't know what I was expecting, maybe a more complex mystery, maybe more comedy, but while I enjoyed the book just fine I didn't feel any real "oomph". Maybe I am not the target audience, the way it focuses on romantic elements and vulnerability it would appeal to readers who prefer stories emphasizing those, which is not my thing.

I don't normally read mysteries, I think this is only the fourth or fifth one ever, so I might just be a poor judge of this one.

23 of 26 people found this review helpful

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  • Eugenia
  • Chatsworth, CA, US
  • 01-21-19

Not What I Expected

I expected a murder mystery with engaging characters written and narrated by my absolute favorite TV host.
What I got was a story with a very lukewarm murder mystery that was incidental to the story of the characters.
I also got characters that were so unlikeable and so self-centered and narrated with Graham's signature sardonic tone that I didn't care for any of them.
This includes the main character of the police (guard?) detective, PJ. Sorry, but I needed someone, especially the lead character, to be strong. Of course being a flawed main character is fine, it certainly worked brilliantly for Brendon Gleeson in a recent murder thriller, but PJ is so weak and so not so bright that I really didn't care.
The writing was mostly above average (sorry to damn with faint praise) but the ever-changing point-of-views were hard to follow at times.
I still adore Graham Norton, just not as a writer.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Norton writes a good three way

As a mystery it’s definitely disappointing - I don’t mind knowing more than the characters but there was zero suspense here. The supporting characters are believable but not very engaging. Surprisingly where Norton shined for me was in his depiction of the unexpected second love triangle.

I’m not a fan of romance but Norton really has a talent for writing it. Unlike other POV changes in the story, when he switched between the lovers POV it carried the story forward nicely and made you care more about both characters.

I’d like to see his next book be exclusively about relationships with no “mystery” element and would love there to be more humor. Like a modern Maeve Binche. Extra points if the love triangle is an LGBTQ+ relationship.

The narration isn’t bad, especially for an author read book. The only thing that I think was actually bad about the book was the setting - specifically how little description there was of it.

I read the book because it was Graham Norton and it was set in South Ireland. I adore Cork and I was able to visualize places from my own travels in Ireland to fill in the gaps here, but Norton’s story depends so much on it being set in a small Irish town that the lack of any real description about that town is a big hinderance to enjoying it for an American reader.

61 of 78 people found this review helpful