23 DECEMBER 1972, Page 31

Man for all seasons

Sir: Reviewing The Grey Sheep (December 9), Mr Auberon Waugh pays a much deserved tribute to its author, Peter de Polnay. Praise to Mr de Polnay is nothing new; he has been lauded highly in his time. Latterly, however, it is true to say that he has been overtaken to some extent by newer and temporarily more fashionable wrikrs.

Mr Waugh is wrong, however, in implying that we at W. H. Allen deliberately publish Peter de Polnay in an off-season: on the contrary, we publish him in all seasons. We have published almost forty of his books over the last twenty years, and we have outstanding contracts for three more. I wonder if Mr Waugh can point to a better record in an author-pubpublisher relationship.

Mr de Polnay is a great storyteller who never moralises, allowing his characters to point their own moral, and he has the true novelist's understanding and sympathy for his characters. Undervalued he may be, but not by his publishers! •

Jeffrey Simmons W. H. Allen & Co. Ltd, 43 Essex Street, London WC2