23 SEPTEMBER 1960, Page 17


in the Spectator of September 9 Mr. Cline has commented upon my book The Detection of Secret Homicide and has stated that I have suggested in the book that all (his italics) deaths should be notified to the coroner, and

has implied that I advocate an autopsy after every death.

It is rather embarrassing to be asked why I advo- cate these measures when, of course, 1 did not suggest them in the book at all. What I did suggest the book is that all cases of sudden and un- explained death should be reported to the coroner, and that all cases which the coroner has reason to suppose are sudden and unexplained should be sub- jected to medico-legal autopsy. This is, of course, very different from saying that all deaths should be reported to the coroner. Indeed where the cause of death can be satisfactorily explained by the medical attendant there is little point in having a medico-legal ,,atcPaY. The sub-title of the book is, in fact, 'A study of the Medico-Legal System of Investigation of Sudden and Unexplained Deaths.'

having of course, very grateful to the Spectator for °m given such prominence to my book, but I should be even more grateful if some opportunity enuld be found to correct this misleading impres- n. There are one or two other points in Mr. "Cline's commentary which I would also like to "'fleet, but I will not weary you with them, as I Zutsider the limitation- of medico-legal investigation audxlen and ‘inexplained deaths of fundamental `,,.`"Portance.—Yours faithfully, JOHN HAVARD civistock Square, WC1