Bunhill: Sex and Lloyd's

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THE Lloyd's of London catastrophe has had many victims, not least Paul Samengo-Turner, a former journalist, banker and industrialist. As a Lloyd's underwriter - or name - he lost his shirt in the insurance market. Aged 69, he has just published his first novel, The Allwards of Mulberry Hall (Merlin Books, pounds 7.95), in the hope of recouping some of his losses.

I can't decide whether it is utter twaddle or a tremendously clever parody of a mucky magazine. Nipples are always turgid, phalluses rampant, panties flimsy ad nauseam.

Then rather unexpectedly on page 136 one of the main characters, Lord Allward, loses a fortune at Lloyd's 'because of the incompetence of the Committee of the Corporation, the LMX spiral fraud and various other malfeasances that the Committee had allowed to go on unchecked'.

The paragraph rather stands out. It's one of the few in the entire 150-page potboiler in which sex is not actually taking place.