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