No safety in numbers

Frank McLynn is strangely baffled about why I called my book The Third Woman (Books, 28 February). Clearly he didn't read the book very carefully. He writes that since the "only other woman" involved at the time was Greene's wife, Vivien, in what sense was she (Catherine Walston) "the third woman"?

This is odd, since much of the first five chapters of my book deals in great detail with how Greene was, in fact, not living with his wife at the start of his affair with Catherine, but with his second mistress, Dorothy Glover in Bloomsbury. I visited this address and describe it. On page three, for example, I refer to Greene, while lunching with his wife Vivien near Cambridge in December 1946, thinking of "his long-standing mistress Dorothy Glover, back in London". Greene had, indeed, been living with his "second" mistress in London since around 1940.

On pages 178-180, I quote from a long letter from Glover to Greene, which explains how everybody is "very sorry for the other woman" (ie, Glover). I repeatedly show how the adulterous novelist continued seeing Glover during much of the early years of his affair with Catherine.

Yet McLynn reliably informs your readers that "no kind of convoluted arithmetic can make Walston the third of any series".

Surely being able to count from one to three (let alone to read from pages one to three) is not especially tricky?

William Cash
London W1

This article first appeared in Ken, the great conductor

2000-03-13