IN his review (May 26) of my book, A Thief in the Night The Death of John Paul 1, Gerard Noel is disappointed that I fail to go "beyond" David Yallop's In God's Name.
What can Mr Noel mean? That he looked for a more sensational conclusion beyond the tragic and poignant reality of Papa Luciani's untended last illness?
If your readers needed reminding: to the intense distress of many of the world's 800 million Catholics, David Yallop marshalled evidence to attempt to prove that John Paul 1 was murdered by poison in the Vatican, possibly by prelates.
It was not my intention to go "beyond" this. I wanted either to confirm it, or refute it forever in the form of a book that would reach a very large number of people, both Catholic and nonCatholic.
The sale of four million copies of Yallop's book in 14 languages, 200,000 in hardback last year in Germany alone, demonstrated the importance of settling Yallop's allegations once and for all.
What I have done, exhaustively, conclusively, I hope, is to demonstrate that Yallop's thesis was based on absolutely false premises and that his allegations therefore do not stand up. Each and every one of Yallop's items of "circumstantial evidence" have been rebutted by my book, and his thesis ha's been publicly discredited as a result, a point overwhelmingly endorsed by reviewers the world over in the past two weeks. Not, however, by yours.
What would be the point of writing such a book and failing to sell it far and wide? Mr Noel complains, nevertheless,that my hook has been "hyped". If he wants to know the true meaning of "hype" he should study the publishing history of In God's Name.
Mr Noel takes me to task, specifically, for failing to come up with anything significantly new against Archbishop Marcinkus. But, again, he fails to appreciate that the whole point of my cross-examination was not to find fresh allegations against this embattled prelate, but to demonstrate his innocence in the matter of murdering a Pope.
Gerard Noel challenges me on one item of fact only. An ommission. That I do not mention that Al Capone also came from Marcinkus's home town. I refer him to pages 16 and 54, where I twice make reference to this fact.
Until the publication of A Thief in the Night Catholics had no suitable reply to Yallop to refer to in book form in English. While I did not look to the Catholic Herald for a favourable review from a literary point of view, 1 think
that your readers deserved a serious assessment as to whether 1 had succeeded, or failed, in challenging Yallop on his central arguments.
Mr Noel's review is, alas, an example of the Catholic media shooting itself in the foot. Little wonder Yallop enjoyed a free range for so long.
London SE1 John Cornwell IN his excellent review of John Cornwell's A Thief in the Night (May 26) Gerard Noel seems surprised that Cornwell doesn't mention that Al Capone was, like Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, born in Cicero, Illinois. He shouldn't be surprised,
Al Capone was born in Brooklyn, New York City on January 17 1899. He didn't go to Chicago until 1919 and his association with the nearby town of Cicero only began in the early 1920's.
Leamington Spa Alan Geary