Holding by Graham Norton
Category: General Fiction/ Mystery
Thanks to publishers Hodder & Stoughton and the folk at Netgalley for a chance to read this Advance Reader Copy of the first foray into fiction by Radio star and TV favourite Graham Norton.
I am not quite sure what I had expected when I embarked on this journey, I think perhaps I expected something a lot more frothy than this, and I am really quite pleased it isn't .This is a book of much more substance.
At it's core this is a gently paced mystery set in small town Eire. Bones discovered on a building site suddenly catapults a local guarda officer away from the mind numbing tasks of road blocks and the inane job of policing "chucking out time" at the pub and into a proper murder investigation.
This is not however a "cosy mystery" this familiar premise is adorned by some very deft and insightful storytelling , showcasing how one isolated incident and some misunderstandings can be a catalyst for total entropy. Many of the townsfolk are held in place by their inability to move past the perceived slights of the past. On the discovery of the bones however, some are suddenly galvanised by guilt, grief or just a sudden realisation that they had reached the capacity of their ability to live in the status quo.
P.J. Is not your normal copper, rather a heavy man who I was desperately worried might succumb to a cardiac arrest before he got to the bottom of things and his potential suspects are not exactly hardened criminals and this in fact makes "Holding" a much more interesting book. There is a kind of sadness evident throughout that permeates the basic plot, all the characters are fully realised with all their faults and foibles gently revealed. This makes for a much more relatable set of motivations or in some cases obstacles.
I had cottoned on to some of the central plot twists relatively early on, but a good book like a nice walk is about the route to the destination rather than the destination itself and this story is engaging and refreshing throughout.
I am very glad I read it as I enjoyed it immensely. It was not the laughathon I was expecting but this serious and considered story was actually much better in the end , a strong beginning to what I hope will be a long writing career for Mr Norton.
As the man himself might say "I Liked it a lot"