Friday, 11 August 2017

Review: Holding by Graham Norton

I don't usually buy books written by celebrities, especially fiction written by celebrities, but I was attracted to this book by the cover, spotted that it had been written by Graham Norton, and couldn't resist reading a few pages. Impressed, I downloaded it, and I'm so glad I did, because this is a thoroughly enchanting cosy crime and I absolutely adored it.

Overweight and completely unfit, Sergeant PJ Collins barely scraped into the Garda Síochána (Irish police) and took the posting in the village of Duneen because it was probably his only chance to make sergeant. When a skeleton is found during the building of a housing estate, PJ is both thrilled and slightly anxious that he'll finally get to investigate a possible crime.  Although when Detective Superintendent Linus Dunne arrives from Cork to take over the investigation, and PJ is reduced to doing house-to-house enquiries, he's not quite so delighted. But maybe the inhabitants of Duneen know more about that skeleton than they're letting on ...

From a writer's point of view, this book is a masterclass in creating characters. And if you love reading cosy crime, particularly village mysteries, you're in for a treat. At first it reminded me a bit of Agatha Christie's Poirot series, but although you have PJ as the police sergeant, each chapter is written from the point of view of a different character, so really the reader is the detective. It also reminded me a bit of Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie series, in that the story is more about the lives and past histories of the characters than the crime. So if you prefer a more plot-based story, with lots of unexpected twists, you might feel this is a bit slow. But I absolutely loved it and I really, really hope this is just the first one in a series.

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