26 FEBRUARY 1972, Page 19

Sir: Bernard Dixon (January 29) could hardly be wider of

the mark in his reference to Mowbrays Bookshops, when previewing Jacques Monod's Le Hasard et la Necessite.

When we decided to turn our shop at 28 Margaret Street, London, into a first class general bookshop we did not reduce the space allowed for religious books. The main religious section was raised to a gallery, while Bibles and leather bound books remained on the ground floor. So far from the religious book trade of the 'sixties having finally petered out, our sales of religious books in 1971 were a record. The sale of secular books is rising more rapidly, but we do not complain about that. To sell more books was the object of the exercise. Even so, in 1971 religious books still accounted for more than half the total sales.

At our Cambridge shop there has been no major change, except that we have had to extend our theological department into the basement. Our sales of religious and theological books at Cambridge in 1971 were 26 per cent up on 1970, and accounted for just over five-sixths of the total book sales.

Religious books are not written, and they certainly cannot be sold, in a vacuum. We shall make Professor Jacques Monod's book available when it is published, but on present trends it seems unlikely that his stoic realism will provide the final solution to the conflict between belief and unbeleif.

A. J. Bryant Chairman, A. R. Mowbray & Co Ltd, 28 Margaret Street, London WI