In the heyday of his sleaze empire, with his pencil moustache, gold jewellery and trademark fur coat, Paul Raymond was for many people the brash personification of nouveau riche vulgarity, posing proudly beside his customised Rolls Royce, a fat cigar protruding from his lips, a curvaceous showgirl on either arm. For other people, Margaret Thatcher among them, he exemplified the entrepreneurial spirit that enabled a poor boy from Depression-era Liverpool to become Britain's richest man. Right up until he died on 2 March 2008, he was a controversial figure around whom scandal swirled. Paul Willetts follows Raymond from his strictly Catholic early life to the isolation, paranoia and extreme wealth of his old age.

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