14 APRIL 1973, Page 28

Undiscovered novel

Sir: Having lately had rather a surfeit of reading novels reviewed in your pages, may I offer you a review of one as yet undiscovered.

"This book is unpretentious but well constructed. It has a beginning, a middle and an end, also a certain amount of wholesome humour, broad in places but not dependent upon reiterated AngloSaxon words. It resembles to no mean extent other books which this author has written, but in the middle of the night, when you may wish to banish bogies, it is sufficiently compelling to wake you want to know what happens in the end, so you will finish it und then fall asleep; pleasantly, because in spite of the modern world, the author convinces you that good triumphs over bad, and villains are meant to be cut down to size. I am sorry, but it gives you no detailed and boring accounts of the act of copulation, not any description of the male or female form which you cannot better yourself by using your imagination, looking in the mirror, or if that is not satisfying by visiting the nearest collection of classic or modern art. Although it has well-rendered passages of danger and alarm, this is simply a cheerful book which you may remember when you have forgotten others more momentarily famous."

I fear I may be thought a trivialminded escapist. But we must recollect that it was an Archbishop of Paris, admittedly criticising a book of theology and not a modern novel, who said sadly: " Helas, ca ne se lit pas comme Les Trois Mousquetaires ". Anthony Woodhouse Common Side, Common Lane, Stock, Essex