I was in Ghislaine’s little black book. This is what it was like


I was in Ghislaine’s little black book. This is what it was like

In the sordid realm of New York high society it doesn’t take much to get noticed, but screw up and you’re done

Helen Kirwan-Taylor

I must have received half a dozen excited phone calls. “I hear you’re on the list?!” they said, hardly able to contain their excitement. The list, as most people now know, is Jeffrey Epstein’s “little black book”, curated for him by socialite Ghislaine Maxwell and containing the names and addresses of the who’s who in London and New York. It first emerged in 2012, when Epstein’s former housekeeper was arrested by the FBI while trying to to sell it, and was published on gawker.com a few years later, with the flight logs for his private jet, nicknamed the “Lolita Express”, but it wasn’t until a few months ago that everyone seems to have seen the full inventory.

The likes of Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Naomi Campbell rub shoulders with the Duke of York, former British prime minister Tony Blair and former British Conservative Party chairperson Andrew Feldman. Not a single digit of a single address is missing. A circle around your entry is even more reason for uncontained excitement. We even have the honour of double entries: one for my husband and me, and the other for my father-in-law, who was also friendly with Ghislaine back in the days when that was an acceptable thing to be. Ghislaine was in my husband’s circle at Oxford University and we knew many people in common. Many of our friends were in her inner set, though none will speak of her now.

Ghislaine was like a sniffer dog: sharp, alert and with a nose that could detect any useful information. I was then an assistant producer at US news magazine programme 60 Minutes, with access to presidents and prime ministers; that caught her attention. I remember her as being quick-witted, attention-seeking and the complete darling of her set. She appeared at every party with half a dozen of the then “it” girls, whose main occupation seemed to be finding a wealthy man with a “house”. Ghislaine’s close female friends, however, were career-minded and independent, as she clearly was...

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