Date to be announced
In conversation with Martha Halford-Fumagalli, local author Robert Lyons will talk about his recently published book, a fictionalised account of a 1970’s financial scandal.
This is an online event delivered via Zoom. Check back for booking arrangements.
THE SHELL COLLECTOR tells the roller-coaster story of Guy Magnus, an ambitious, unprincipled young share-dealer. The story has a number of threads. One is the personal rivalry between Guy and a stockbroker friend, Harry Griffin. They bet a lunch at Maxim’s in Paris on who will be first to ‘show’ a fortune of £1 million.
During the late 1960s Guy wheels and deals his way towards his fortune. By 1973 he is ready for a major deal. Harry’s route to wealth is his shareholding in an ill-managed conglomerate, Britton Trust.
Britton Trust is an ideal asset-rich target for Guy. He sets up a £100 company, Westchurch, as the vehicle for a £20 million take-over bid. A merchant bank, Ulster & Cayman, provides the finance, conditional on Guy giving his personal guarantee for the repayment of its loan.
The day the take-over is completed, a secondary bank collapses and share and property values plummet. Westchurch is unable to repay its loans and Guy has to meet his personal guarantee. Meanwhile Harry Griffin has achieved the sale of his Britton Trust shares and become a millionaire. But in a final twist, it is he who pays for lunch at Maxim’s.
The author was born in Leeds and is a graduate of Pembroke College, Oxford. He became a director of a large retailing group which itself became the victim of a company take-over. He knew ‘Guy Magnus’ socially, and met a number of the other characters during his business career. He and his wife have lived in Highgate for more than fifty years, enjoying the musical and theatrical life that London has to offer. They have two children and six grandchildren, aged from one to 23.