It all started so brightly for the visitors, who took the lead when Matt Jarvis calmly tucked in Michael Kightly's low cross.
But Norwich drew level within a minute, when Holt lifted the ball over Wayne Hennessey and then nodded in.
Holt drilled in a penalty just before the break after Wes Hoolahan's shot struck Eggert Jonsson on the arm - but Holt was shown a second yellow card late on as Norwich ended the game with 10 men.
Wolves have been on a disastrous run in 2012, now winning just one of their last 16 Premier League matches and shipping 21 goals in their last six.
And having been trounced 5-0 by Manchester United at Molineux last week, there was a chance for Terry Connor’s side to bounce back with a vital win.
Norwich started the stronger at a sun-kissed Carrow Road, but Wolves were celebrating the lead when Jarvis capped a fine late run into the box with an assured finish into the bottom corner after Kightly had drilled a low ball in from the right.
It may have been against the run of play, but Wolves had barely finished celebrating the opener before they were pegged back.
Simeon Jackson took advantage of slack Wolves defending to loft the ball over the defence and into the path of Holt, who lifted the ball over goalkeeper Hennessey and nodded it into the empty net.
It remained an even contest – but the first half had a sting in the tail.
Wolves seemed to be heading in for the break on level terms, but Norwich were awarded a penalty when Hoolahan’s fizzing effort struck the hand of Jonsson.
Holt hammered the resulting penalty down the middle and the goal preceded a flurry of Norwich chances in the second half – with Jonny Howson coming closest.
The former Leeds midfielder waltzed into a shooting position after collecting the ball on the edge of the box, but could not keep his shot down.
Holt could have claimed his hat-trick but was unable to connect as he slid in to steer in Hoolahan's low cross into the six-yard box.
Norwich were the better side for much of the contest but were forced to play the final five minutes without captain Holt – who received his second yellow card for a clumsy lunge on Kightly.
Wolves threw everything at the home side, but were unable to get an equaliser - leaving them three points adrift of Wigan and in big trouble.