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Holding by Graham Norton
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Holding (edition 2016)

by Graham Norton (Author)

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564210,933 (3.59)1
Member:Scarlet-Aingeal
Title:Holding
Authors:Graham Norton (Author)
Info:Hodder & Stoughton (2016), 320 pages
Collections:Your library, Read, Read in 2016, Mystery, NetGalley
Rating:***
Tags:Mystery

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Holding by Graham Norton

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Showing 4 of 4
3.75 PJ Collins is the only law, the local garda, in the small Irish village Duneen. He is by all accounts a very overweight man who loves his food, which his housekeeper Mrs. Meany so thoughtfully supplies. His job entails little, there being virtually no crime to speak of, as the villagers just get on with the tasks of their daily lives. A quiet town, until bones are discovered in a field and thought to be that of a young man, who had once farmed this land, and was said to have run away to the city. Now PJ must use his abilities in solving this crime, which becomes especially pressing when bones of a baby are also found.

Although their is a mystery at hand, this novel, written in a tongue and check manner is really about the people in the village, the secrets they hold, and the loss of dreams they once had. Also about a young garda gaining confidence in himself and rising above the situation in which he is presented.

I have heard of this author, his show but have never seen it, though a friend of mine at work says she finds him amusing. This is his first novel and I enjoyed reading this rather quiet story, looking into people's lives and behind the facades they present daily. Maybe an Irish cozy as there are really few, well actually only one, heart pounding moment. A nice diversional read, especially for those who are more attracted to character driven stories as opposed to edge of your seat suspense.

ARC from publisher.
Publishes August 1st in the US by Atria. ( )
  Beamis12 | Jun 17, 2017 |
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley.

PJ has been the sergeant in a small Irish village called Duneen for 15 years. One day the remains of a body buried 20 years ago are discovered on a building site. It is assumed they belong to Tommy Burke, who disappeared at around the right time, leaving his fiancee Brid, and Evelyn, who loved hm too. In the intervening years Brid has married Anthony, but Evelyn has really recovered from Tommy's disappearance. PJ, in conjunction with a Superintendent from Cork, solves the crime.

This was a short, easy read, but rather superficial. It was a little like a cross between Maeve Binchy and a "cozy" mystery. There was an over-attentive housekeeper, a rape, an illegitimate child, an affair, a suspect with problems with alcohol, "spinsters" who were a bit strange etc etc. All very unoriginal. Then in the end, nothing particularly terrible had actually happened. I think we were meant to like PJ, but I found the constant references to his weight off-putting and his sudden success with the ladies unlikely. I would be very surprised if he made a successful detective in Cork. ( )
  pgchuis | Apr 29, 2017 |
I would like to thank Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

Holding read more as light character study, both of the village and of the people who live there, rather than a mystery story. It was an excursion into village life, an exploration of the lifestyle and mentality of a small rural community: the not so secret secrets, the gossip, the interwoven lives of the inhabitants, and the fact that everyone knows everyone else's business etc. The mystery aspect however, was rather predictable.

In the beginning, there were so many characters introduced all at once. I got a bit lost as they were all thrown at me without any depth or description to make them take shape. As the story progressed I got to know them a bit better, but they were simple characters, they didn't have enough substance or complexity to catch my interest.

The writing itself is OK, it gets overly descriptive at times and although it didn't grip me, I did enjoy it enough to keep reading. It's the kind of book that's easy to read. One that you don't have to centre all your attention on, you can pick it up and put it down easily. It's the kind of book that you are able to follow even with outside distractions and interruptions. There were no big reveals or twists, and nothing came as a surprise. It just plodded along at a steady pace.

Holding is not a heavily involved read, it's perfect for a light distraction when you're unable to give a book your complete attention. But, if you're looking for a good mystery that will keep you guessing, this is not the book you're looking for. ( )
  Scarlet-Aingeal | Dec 9, 2016 |
I’m always a bit dubious when celebrities publish novels. Is it really them or is it ghostwritten? Ghostwriters are all about technique, capturing the voice of their subject and producing a well-crafted book to order. On this basis I think we can be confident that Norton actually wrote Holding.

It’s set in a whimsical Irish village which feels like the 1950s apart from a few extraneous cultural references (like the man who’s always carrying round an iPad for no discernible reason). There’s a village guard with a housekeeper, a nosy matriarch, and long-buried family secrets. One of those is unburied, along with a pile of bones, by a group of builders on a local farm.

The guard, Sergeant PJ Collins, calls in a detective from the city, who’s probably a graduate and knows about things like forensics but it’s not really necessary. The plot, such as it is, largely consists of people telling PJ stuff. Meanwhile he finds self-realisation just through proximity to an actual crime, it appears (though his arousal at proximity to a bulky builder in his car, which might have made for a more interesting storyline, turns out to be a red herring).

Each character arrives with a trailer-load of backstory and a skip’s worth of description (it’s helpful to be given the full inventory of the local shop and to learn that it stays open long hours for people who run out of things). You could say this slows the story down but if you cut it out I’m not sure what would be left.

There is the sweet little story of PJ striving to find happiness, and some gentle small-town humour, but overall it reads like that shaky first attempt which the wise author keeps firmly locked in a drawer.
*
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. ( )
  KateVane | Oct 6, 2016 |
Showing 4 of 4
With a real affection for its flawed characters and their back stories, Holding is at times heartbreaking, at others snortingly funny.
added by Sylak | editStylist [Issue 338], Amy Adams (Oct 12, 2016)
 
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