I am a big fan of British television, so when I saw that Graham Norton had written a novel, I knew I wanted to get my hands on it. For those who don't recognize the name, Graham Norton has a very popular celebrity interview show on BBC, where he talks and jokes and sings and dances with celebrities from all over the world. He is smart, entertaining, inventive, and effervescent on screen, and as it turns out, he's the same on paper.
P.J. Collins is the only police officer (garda) in the remote village of Duneen in Ireland. But he doesn't mind. The town is quiet, and he can handle the job by himself. Until the day that builders find some buried bones on an old farm. The bones are thought to belong to Tommy Burke, a young man torn between two women, because he had disappeared to London many years before. The bones would explain why he'd not been back. But are the bones really Tommy's? And how did they come to be buried in such a manner?
While P.J. had to call in the forensics team from Cork, he's not willing to give up the entire investigation to those intrusive big city boys who think they know everything. They may have investigated more murders than he has, but Duneen is his. He's the perfect man to dig through all the rumors and secrets to find out what really happened on the Burke farm all those years ago. And in the midst of all that, he finds a competence and a confidence that he'd never known before.
The charm of Holding is a combination of a idyllic village of lovable and irascible characters, a mystery filled with secrets and rumors, and a beautiful writing style that transports you to a small corner of Ireland. This novel reminds me of everything I love about British mystery shows--the fully drawn characters, the compelling sense of a place, and the small-town secrets that come seeping out to put the final pieces in the puzzle. Everything about Graham Norton's Holding is an utter delight, and I recommend it without reservation. Put this on your shelf with all your favorite mystery novels, and hope that Norton considers turning this into a series.
Holding was provided by Atria Books through NetGalley.com, with many thanks.