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3.80  ·  Rating details ·  18,245 ratings  ·  1,868 reviews
A New York Times Bestseller

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.

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Hardcover, 264 pages
Published August 1st 2017 by Atria Books (first published October 6th 2016)
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Bett Also in Britain a 'smallholding' is a small farm, and the stories here center around the 'holdings' of land which steer people's lives (finding bones …moreAlso in Britain a 'smallholding' is a small farm, and the stories here center around the 'holdings' of land which steer people's lives (finding bones on the land, marrying a woman for her land, etc.). Combined with the characters holding onto the past, it makes a nice double meaning.(less)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  18,245 ratings  ·  1,868 reviews

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Sep 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Comedian and TV presenter Graham Norton, is a well known and very popular personality here in the UK, however, that doesn't necessarily make for a good novelist. I was surprised then to discover that in fact he's produced a really good debut novel, written with flair and searing honesty.

Duneen is a small, sleepy, Irish village, where life has meandered along in much the same way it has for generations. It has its own police officer in the form of Sergeant P J Collins or PJ as he's known to many
Sep 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel written by Graham Norton has charm and is set in the remote Irish village of Duneen, of little note until builders unearth human bones on a farm. This has the local grapevine over excited and clamouring for information, whilst peddling gossip galore. This discovery has far reaching repercussions for the residents. It is assumed that the bones are those of Tommy Burke, who apparently left the village some years ago, amidst a scandal involving two women, the now alcoholic Brid Riordan, ...more
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75 Stars

Set in the small Irish village of Duneen, the kind of place where everybody knows everybody else, and if someone comes to town or someone leaves town, before sunset the whole town knows. Sergeant P.J. Collins is the village garda, an unmarried man with an uneventful life, an uneventful job, that is until the day the builders managed to unearth bones. Human bones. Most people tend to view P.J. Collins as a likeable fellow, if incapable of performing his duties should he ever be physical
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A quiet Irish village, with almost zero crime rate and inhabitants who seem comfortably settled into their lives and routines ... Sounds idyllic ... If bones hadn't been discovered accidentaly on a building site, nobody would have admitted to having suppressed desires, emotions and true feelings. Yes, 'feelings are to be feared' and dug deep down, never revealed. Unearthing a skeleton is what allows the villagers to recal what they truly yearn for and miss.
This is a story of lost loves, hidden
Diane S ☔
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, netgalley
What an intriguing and emotional delight this book was!

I love Graham Norton, so I have to be honest, I was a little nervous about reading his book, in case I didn't enjoy it and felt disappointed, but it was exactly the things I love in a book. It's the kind of murder mystery story that doesn't get bogged down in police procedural, which is the part of crime fiction that generally sends me to sleep.

Holding focusses on a variety of interesting characters within a close-knit community in Ireland.
Aisling Zena
4 stars

I have to be honest, I requested this book because I saw it was written by the delightful Graham Norton and I had no idea he was an author. I went in to this hopeful but not entirely sure of what I was getting. Thankfully any worries I had were completely erased in the first few pages.


Graham Norton writes in the third person with his narration jumping beautifully, maybe effortlessly is a better word, from person to person. He weaved a lovely tale that I devoured in one sitting. His descr
<3.5 Stars

Holding by Graham Norton is an easy and pleasurable read, better than I was expecting but not not going to make my year's favourite list

Holding is Norton's debut novel and is set in a small town of Dunedin in County Cork where life goes by and little happens out of the ordinary until a building site unearths human remains and the life's of the inhabitants of Dunedin become filled with suspicions and wonder and the secrets that were buried with the bodies slowly begin to reveal.
The bo
Emer (A Little Haze)
In an awards ceremony last year this was voted as Irish book of the year. I'm at a loss as to how. I guess it was more to do with the celebrity status of the author Graham Norton as he is a well known tv and radio presenter and sometimes comedian rather than the quality of the book. Okay. That's probably harsh. The characters were nicely written but the plot was dull at best and the atmosphere that one should feel when reading a whodunit / unraveling of secrets type novel was tepid at best. And ...more
3.5 Stars. Excellent Bookclub Read!

Sergeant P. J. Collins is quite A character and is THE main character in HOLDING. For the first time the remote Irish village that he calls home....he has a mystery to solve....he is the law.

A bumbling Guard at best with not much to keep himself busy besides an occasional drunk, PJ finds himself in a bit of a quandary when human bones are unearthed at a building site....he knows not what to do!

Often ridiculed for his weight and well aware of his unde

Aug 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I heard Graham Norton had written his debut novel I was intrigued to see just how good it was. I have read his biography but obviously this is a lot different and a different skill all together. I was very quickly impressed with just how well written this was, it flowed well, it was well paced, the characters were well developed and more importantly it was interesting.
The novel takes place in the remote Irish village of Duneen which has known very little drama. Human remains are discovered
Dannii Elle
I received this in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. Thank you to the author, Graham Norton, and the publisher, Hodder & Stoughton, for this opportunity.

First of all, yes, the author is that Graham Norton. I am not normally one to be interested in celebrity-penned novels as, dare I say it, they often aren't that good... This, however, proved to be a hilarious and thrilling exception!

Set in the remote Irish village of Duneen and featuring a plethora of stereotyped characters, I wasn't
I've liked Graham Norton, who is a well-known TV and radio presenter in the UK, for years. So when I discovered he had written a novel, I was really curious to read it. I received an ARC via NetGalley (thank you!) but then I got hold of the audiobook, which is actually narrated by Graham himself, so that made the whole thing even more intriguing.
Set in a small village in Ireland (Norton was born in Ireland), Holding is a cozy mystery featuring Sergeant PJ Collins whose job as the local Garda has
Susan Johnson
3.5 stars

This was a pleasant. cozy mystery set in Ireland. The characters were likable, the interactions between people were realistic and the mystery had a nice twist. It was a great way to spend a cold, winter's day.
Graham Norton wrote a really surprisingly good whodunnit, given the fact that as a well-loved and popular BAFTA-winning TV-presenter of comedy shows, one would not expect Norton to be this thoughtful and observing of the other side of life: the sad, tragic, dark side so often blanketed in pretentiousness. It's a ignorant statement. Of course he would know. His gentleness, natural curiosity and deep compassion for people shine through in this novel of heartbreak, which is slightly tinged with a l ...more
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Graham Norton of BBC fame has written a debut murder/mystery novel that is surprisingly good. He has chosen not to have it be a comic novel—which would have been easy for him to do. Rather, he has written a rather melancholy tale focusing on how 6-7 characters’ lives change when human remains are discovered on land under construction for a new housing development. There is corpulent Sgt. Collins who has a sensitive soul and is somewhat overwhelmed at having to investigate a murder that happened ...more
Louise Wilson
Sep 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are 3 main characters involved in the main story. The first being an overweight guard P. J. Collins. Second is alcoholic mother of 2 Brid Riordan and the third is Evelyn Ross who has nothing to show for her life. The story is set in Duneen a remote Irish village. Builders arrive and start digging on an old farm where they discover human remains. They are believed to be of Tommy Burke a former love interest of both Brid and Evelyn. Sargent Collins struggles to solve his first investigation ...more
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Most reviews I've seen of Holding, both positive and negative, seem to be written by readers who only picked it up because of the name Graham Norton. I was the opposite - I read the summary and thought 'that sounds exactly like a book I would like,' but my cursor hesitated over the request button because of the author. I mean, don't get me wrong, Graham Norton is a great television presenter. I just wasn't confident in his novel writing skills. But I was too tempted by the premise to not at leas ...more
Stephen Clynes
Follow Sergeant PJ Collins as he tries to solve the mystery behind the body uncovered by builders in Duneen, a village in rural Ireland.

This is not a regular mystery or crime thriller novel. I found the plot very lacking. The story is told in the same style that Graham uses at the start of each of his television chat shows. Yes, it is witty and very pleasant but is awfully polite and never hits hard. Graham builds his story by developing the police investigation along the lines of a romantic com
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
'Holding' seems promising for the first couple of chapters, but that promise gradually fades as the story struggles to develop. Holding's intriguing opening of a body being discovered gets very side tracked with what the writer is aiming to be scandalous drama between locals that is really just underwhelming, and sometimes silly. The investigation of the murder throughout the novel is very dull. The majority of it entails the sergeant reporting that there are no leads or new findings. Although t ...more
Alice (Married To Books)
3.5 out of 5 stars!

For those of you who don't know who Graham Norton is, he has a popular evening show called The Graham Norton Show here in the UK. He is also a comedian and radio show host, commentates the BBC coverage for Eurovision as well. Holding is his debut novel, set in a small village in Ireland and following Sergeant PJ Collins who is new to the area. When human remains are found in one of the village farms, lots of rumours start to spread about who has died, how they died and if anyo
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
I know this isn't going to be everyone's fave but I really loved this book!
Yes, I am already a fan of Graham Norton and his wit and I did listen to this on audio with him narrating which probably added the emphasis needed to see this book for the hilarious but sad read that it is.
The story is very understated - bones are found in a small village in Ireland that send the locals into gossip overdrive and ignite the long-lost feuds that may lend closure to this mystery.
Sergeant PJ Collins is brilli
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The writer really knows his Ireland. It's very recognisable.

At first I gave this four stars. But after sleeping on it I'm going to raise it to five. This is due to the sensitivity in his writing about the thoughts and feelings people in the book have.
Rachel Hall
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I heard that Graham Norton had written a crime novel, I confess to being sceptical purely because his larger than life persona and innuendo laden jokes scream the very opposite of a subtle and dark crime author. I am largely indifferent to much of his television and comedy work but Holding was an unexpected delight. It didn’t need to have caricatures or play for laughs and whilst there is never really much of a rigorous police investigation between its pages, it is full of beautiful observa ...more
Sherwood Smith
Easily one of my best reads of the year so far, I think of this mystery as a cozy in the sense that it is about the characters far more than the puzzle, and there are more scenes of character interaction that have nothing to do with the mystery, and very few talking heads discussing clues and forensics.

The omniscient narrator once in a while shifts abruptly from POV to POV, but doesn't lost the reader as we get to know the principle people in the tiny Irish town of Duneen. Central is Sergeant PJ
This novel was one of the top 2 sellers this Christmas in Ireland. It's easy to see why this novel has wide appeal. It is set in a fictional Irish village. This is post-recession Ireland, but much of the novel feels as though this village is still living in the 1960's. The main character is Garda Sergeant PJ Collins, an overweight 40-something garda (yes, the noun is both singular and plural). He is a lonely man trapped in a backwater town, with little to do. That is, until a developer finds a b ...more
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to know if Graham Norton could write, and I must say, I'm not disappointed. This was a good debut. In the beginning there were too many adjectives, but that stopped after a few pages which made the reading more enjoyable. It's a lovely Irish murder mystery story. ...more
Apr 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've feel like I've been watching the charismatic Graham Norton for years so was quite excited to hear about his new novel. With much intrigue I requested a copy from NetGalley and was delighted to receive an ARC. My thanks to all those involved for that.

Set in a remote village called Duneen in Ireland, Holding is a charming whodunit of a tale. It has larger than life characters that you would expect in a village that goes back generations with everyone knowing everyone. Mysterious spinster sist
Ivonne Rovira
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone!
Recommended to Ivonne by: NetGalley
First for Americans, Graham Norton, the Irish host of a comic talk show, is as well known in the United Kingdom as his counterparts Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers and Jimmy Kimmel are on this side of the Pond. Norton sallies into new territory with this funny, intriguing debut novel that follows the exploits of the bumbling Sergeant P.J. Collins. His Irish village of Duneen is so sleepy that Collins has never really had to do a serious day’s of police work in his life; that all changes when a cons ...more
For a change some light holiday reading. I don't really like the detective genre, but I was seduced by the positive comments on this booklet, even though the hype may have more to do with the author: Graham Norton, mostly known to us for the sometimes hilarious fragments of his TV talk show on You Tube. The story itself seems to be one of thirteen in a dozen: the discovery of a corpse shakes a little village in Ireland on its foundations and brings out all sorts of unsavory secrets. A lot of ste ...more
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Graham William Walker is an Irish actor, comedian, television presenter and columnist, known by his stage name Graham Norton. He is the host of the comedy chat show The Graham Norton Show and the BBC commentator of the Eurovision Song Contest.

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“she needed to anchor herself to something or she might fly around the room screaming out her pain like a hysterical balloon.” 5 likes
“Life had taught them well. Feelings were to be feared, pain was to be avoided at all cost, and if that meant not experiencing joy, then so be it.” 2 likes
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