The Bettencourt Affair
by Tom Sancton (read by Amanda Carlin)
Money fuels this story, but if it were that alone, this book would not have the narrative drive that makes it such an extraordinary tale. Included in the mix are a family feud, an interloper, politics and wartime secrets. Liliane Bettencourt, the 94-year-old L’Oreal heir whose mind has been made inaccessible by Alzheimer’s, plays the central role in a scandal exposed by an elderly-abuse suit filed in 2007 by her estranged only child, Françoise Meyers.
Over about 20 years, Meyers’ mother had gifted €1 billion to François-Marie Banier, a photographer whom her mother had met in 1987. Theirs was a platonic relationship but the last straw for Meyers was discovering that Banier was manoeuvring to be legally adopted into the family.
Who doesn’t appreciate yarns about other dysfunctional families?