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Irish Independent - Weekend Review - - BOOKS - JOHN MEAGHER

Si­mon & Schus­ter, 384 pages, €12 In 1944, 16-year-old bal­le­rina Edith Eger was sent to Auschwitz. Sep­a­rated from her par­ents on ar­rival at the no­to­ri­ous con­cen­tra­tion camp, the young Hun­gar­ian en­dures hor­rific ex­pe­ri­ences, in­clud­ing be­ing made to dance for the in­fa­mous Josef Men­gele.

When the camp is fi­nally lib­er­ated, she is pulled from a pile of bod­ies, barely alive. And yet, the hor­rors of the Holo­caust didn’t break this re­silient girl. In fact, they helped her learn to live again with a life-af­firm­ing strength and a truly re­mark­able re­silience.

The Choice is her com­pelling story, one that shows how hope can spring in the most aw­ful of cir­cum­stances. Now 90, she has lived in the US since the war and is hailed for her work in psychology. Bri­tish thriller writer Belinda Bauer is a true mas­ter of her genre and has nu­mer­ous crime-fic­tion gongs to prove it. Her lat­est book has just been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, so the pa­per­back edi­tion of Snap is sure to be a big-seller.

The novel be­gins on a hot sum­mer’s day as three chil­dren — 11-year-old Jack and his two sis­ters — wait in their car, which has bro­ken down, for their mother to re­turn with help. But she never does and a few weeks later, po­lice find Eileen’s body.

The book then jumps for­ward three years, where we meet a teenage Jack now strug­gling to look af­ter his sis­ters and un­ravel the mys­tery of his mother’s death. A sharp, un­set­tling and taut read. The life and crimes of John ‘Goldfin­ger’ Palmer were straight out of a Hol­ly­wood block­buster — and Marnie, his wife of 40 years, was there for it all.

Born into poverty, the English gang­ster fought his way up to a life­style of pri­vate jets, yachts and Fer­raris. And it was all thanks to a home-made gold smelter in his back gar­den, a mul­ti­mil­lion-pound time­share em­pire and var­i­ous mort­gage scams.

By the turn of the mil­len­nium, he was one of the rich­est men in Bri­tain but had a long list of en­e­mies. Here, his widow shares her unique in­sight into his roller­coaster life, from deal­ing scrap in Bris­tol, to a no­to­ri­ous bank raid that changed their lives — end­ing with his down­fall of be­tray­als, im­pris­on­ment and his 2015 mur­der, still un­solved.

BI­OG­RA­PHY Goldfin­ger and Me Marnie PalmerThe His­tory Press, 224 pages, €12

FIC­TION Snap Belinda BauerTransworld, 352 pages, €15.99

MEM­OIR The Choice Edith Eger

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