The mirror

How did Robert Maxwell fool most of the people most of the time?

‘Everyone’s heard of Ghislaine Maxwell,’ says the blurb for Power: The Maxwells, a podcast series launched last month. ‘But there’s a shadowy figure who hangs above her who you likely don’t know: her father, media tycoon Robert Maxwell.’ Blimey. I know that 30 years have passed since his soggy demise, and time like an ever-rolling stream bears all its sons away, but it still comes as a shock to realise that such a preposterously outsize figure can be forgotten. His tumble down the memory hole may explain why this is a book of two halves. When John Preston contacted me in 2018 with a Maxwellian query, he said: ‘I’m not