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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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Loved ot!

captivating! Norton's reading helps bring the charaters to life. just enough twists to keep you begging for more!

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Enjoyable listen

I like Graham Norton, as a personality. Now I like him as a fiction author. This was an enjoyable listen. The story wasn't "deep" but it kept my interest the entire book. His characters were realistic with enough quirks and foibles to make the story interesting. Norton's narration was very good, nice to listen to & easy on the ears.

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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.

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Beautifully written

I wouldn't have thought of Graham Norton as a novelist of such deft sentimentality, but I was very happy to discover that he is. The book is beautifully written, and touching. It moved me into the lives of these small town people and made me care about them. I was pleasantly absorbed into their world, yet satisfied when the story ended. It reminded me of a novel from my youth that I loved, Cider with Rosie, by Laurie Lee, perhaps only because both books created a similar observational mood.

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding

Fresh and original. I loved the sense of place, loveable and not so loveable characters, and a plot that did not cheat the reader. Graham Norton is very much in command, writing with humor and great literary talent. I will recommend this book highly.

1 of 1 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....

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Most appealing detective in a long time

The key to the mystery is pretty obvious with big hints dropped early, but it's the characters and their motives that make this book such a pleasure. A very refreshing read, hopefully the start of a series.

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