Graham Norton has joined the ranks of celebrity novelists. After a couple of autobiographical works he has got the writing bug and has been spurred on to produce the novel he always wanted to write. For the first half it is surprisingly under-stated, a rather cosy affair. In the Irish village of Duneen a skeleton is unearthed when builders are working on redevelopment at an old farm. The body is believed to be of Tommy Burke who had supposedly left some twenty years before following tangled encounters with a couple of women in the village. It is obvious that some people know more than they are letting on.
TV presenter, chat show host etc now adds novelist to list of achievements
So far, nothing especially distinguished but once Norton gets into his characters the novel develops a stronger identity. He has created quite a star in Sergeant PJ Collins, the lone member of the Garda for the village, an overweight, lonely man who comes into his own and becomes unexpectedly in demand during the investigation. Small time Irish life is something Norton obviously remembers well and it feels spot-on. It certainly wasn’t the book I was expecting him to write. I was expecting sharp, brittle humour and a much more glitzy affair. Norton is a natural with yet really does not play it for laughs in quite the way I had anticipated. It does open out from the charming, slightly dated feel of the cosy crime caper into a cauldron of secrets and lies and it has all been done rather well. A welcome addition to the celebrity novelist’s club.
Holding is published by Hodder and Stoughton on 6th October 2016. Many thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for the advance review copy.